The Labor government's plan to censor the Australian internet has entered the realm of farce. Despite scraping back into government by the barest of possible margins, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has returned without delay to trumpeting his doomed scheme to anybody that will listen.
As we have said (for years, now) the filter will not help parents, nor will it help police crack down on illegal material. It's a worst-of-all-worlds approach that is a case study on the fundamental incompatibility of a classification-based system with the internet. Fortunately, most people are able to see this - not just nerds and civil libertarians think the plan is crazy, but industry, academia, the media, all the other major political parties and the vast majority of internet users do as well. With even children's rights groups criticising the scheme, you'd think any government would love an excuse to tow this old scow of a policy out to sea and scuttle it.
As the article above notes, and we have pointed out recently, as things stand the filter has buckley's chance of making it through Parliament, given that it has no supporters beyond Senator Conroy party (and, truth be told, probably only a handful of his colleagues). This gives the latest forays on behalf of the filter the ridiculous air of a Don Quixote. After investing so much into defending the troubled scheme, Senator Conroy clearly cannot bring himself to let the poor thing die with dignity. The ventilator is still pumping, but all the patient needs is a casket.
For a moment, some of us dared hope that this sorry affair would be behind us. It seemed reasonable, that given how crucial it was to keeping Conroy himself in the Ministerial lifestyle to which he as become accustomed, he would focus on the National Broadband Network and forget about the filter. After all, he made a good effort, but the public support and numbers in Parliament aren't there. Accept defeat and move on. Alas, that is not to be, so the fight is not quite over.
As long as the filter is Government policy, we must maintain the rage; the possibility of floor-crossing Liberals, a double-dissolution election, or regulation-based solution can still keep us up at night. If that doesn't motivate you, then let the absurdity of the situation do it instead. Write or call the minister's office. Tell him what you really think - that the filter's a joke, that it damages the dignity of the government, that you want him to focus on making our internet experience better, not worse.
Even if the scheme looks unlikely to get up, we need to teach the government a lesson. Make sure that they and future governments will think twice before attempting something like this again.
Call: You can call the Minister's office on (03) 9650 1188.
Email: [email protected]