This post is to provide a discussion forum for the article Gillard won't budge on internet filter published today on the news.com.au website.  The artcile is being reposted here so that the public may have an opportunity to reply.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard isn't budging on dropping the unpopular internet filter, saying it is a moral judgment the government needs to make.

The coalition and the Greens are unlikely to support proposed new laws that will see inappropriate content filters through internet service providers.

But, Ms Gillard remains defiant: "The internet filter is appropriate".

"It is unlawful for me to go to the cinema and watch some certain sorts of content, that's unlawful, we believe it to be wrong," she told the Queensland Media Club in Brisbane on Tuesday.

"Content that is child abuse, incredibly violent pornography, we say that is wrong and we don't show it in Australian cinemas.

"If we accept that, then it seems to me the moral question is not changed by the medium that the image has come through."

She said the government is working through how the internet filter could be introduced without slowing down connection speed or accidentally banning content that is appropriate.

Under the plan, all Internet Service Providers (ISP) in Australia would be required to use a filter to block sites that are refused classification by the The Australian Communications and Media Authority, including child sexual abuse imagery, bestiality, sexual violence, detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use and material that advocates the doing of a terrorist act.

There is also an audio file of the full speech given.  The filter question is at the and of the recording.

Here are some of the Twitter responses:

Jinjirrie: Julia, you are a GOOSE! RT @efa_oz: @JuliaGillard won't budge on internet filter http://bit.ly/dpmoM2 #openinternet #NoCleanFeed

mackenziepricee: @JuliaGillard Why don't you listen to the public for once. The internet filter is not wanted. #OpenInternet #alpfail

thebellman: Dear @JuliaGillard - please stop peddling misinformation with respect to internet censorship #OpenInternet

carloscomputers: @JuliaGillard dump the net filter now. It won't work. Put the money into funding the AFP instead. #openinternet #nocleanfeed

EnsignR: @JuliaGillard I didnt think you were so naive not to know why we're all up in arms over #openinternet. Scope creep is the biggest issue.

SilentInfidel: @JuliaGillard The internet is a communications medium, not a publishing medium. You wouldn't censor emails, would you? #OpenInternet

gh8421: @JuliaGillard Money spent on the Filter, could be better spent educating families on usage and funding police resources. #OpenInternet

HotdogWithSauce: @JuliaGillard Education for parents and them executing their parental responsibilities is what is needed, not a net filter. #OpenInternet

CHICAGO_lollie: @JuliaGillard The grand majority of industry professionals around the world have already said that a filter is FALSE SECURITY.

jclacherty: So the govt's role is to make moral judgements is it? RT @grumpymojo: Internet filter is right: Gillard: http://bit.ly/9FVmFC #openinternet

LrdScar: @JuliaGillard It has been clearly demonstrated that this filter its a WASTE OF MONEY. Fund the cops instead #openinternet #nocleanfeed

noj: @JuliaGillard it's not govt.'s place to decide what ppl may consume on the internet. Education is required not censorship #openinternet

trib: Someone needs to do a piece for @abcthedrum @crikey_news or @thepunchcomau (or all) debunking RC = illegal nonsense. #openinternet

Have an opinion? Please post your thoughts below.

32 comments

  1. I can't say I'm terribly surprised. The filter will get through in some form of corrupt horse trading down the line.

    Comment by @OhCrap on 12 October 2010 at 17:27
  2. Appropriate and effective education for parents and them executing their parental responsibilities is what is needed, not a nanny Government. An optional Internet filter could be provided for those who wish to take it up and/or don't feel confident supervising their children 100% alone but a mandatory filter that punishes everyone because of a minority of people who abuse the Internet is not the solution and will not stop this type of content from being accessed and shared.

    Comment by @HotdogWithSauce on 12 October 2010 at 17:30
    • Oddly, this already existed, the Howard Government made an optional filter, but it was so badly publicised people didn't even know it existed.

      That's right, the Howard Government had better policy than the ALP regarding censorship,

      Comment by Nicolai on 13 October 2010 at 07:14
  3. Why are they still using the 'Internet as public space' argument? 0_O

    Clearly, these people are living in a different world to me...

    Comment by Gideon on 12 October 2010 at 17:31
  4. Hopefully this colossal waste of tax payers money wont pass through parliament. I am actually afraid at how many children will be vulnerable by the false sense of security it will potentially give to parents.

    Comment by Glen on 12 October 2010 at 17:32
  5. Also not terribly surprised - I reckon, unfortunately, that @OhCrap is right - corrupt horse trading will get the filter through in some form. Maybe that can get Fielding back in at a future election?

    Comment by @Rantz on 12 October 2010 at 17:35
  6. Guess what? All of those f***ing spastics who voted greens are completely responsible for this.
    When are people going to get it through their heads that A VOTE FOR GREENS IS A VOTE FOR LABOR????
    In the lead up to the electon, the Liberals came out strongly against Conroy's internet filter. Rightly so. For some reason, the 'conventional wisdom' around the traps lead people to believe that it was now okay to vote green, because the libs didn't support the filter either.
    Now look - Gillard is PM and Conroy is still comms minister soley due to support from the Greens.
    If you voted Green, you voted for Gillard/Conroy's internet filter. Simple.

    Comment by Cam on 12 October 2010 at 18:01
    • Did you happen to notice the Greens don't support the filter, or are you busy regurgitating Lib slogans from your high horse? Simple, all right.

      Comment by Chuan on 12 October 2010 at 18:15
    • Actually, Cam, I participated in the movement to put Conroy LAST, and I did so, though not enough people in Victoria did for it to make a difference, unfortunately.

      The Greens don't support this filter, never did, and they still don't. Pull your head out, mate, and pay a little more attention to what's actually going on and what's actually being said. You'll look less of a prat.

      Comment by Melbourne Mum on 12 October 2010 at 19:09
    • Tell me Cam - are you a complete imbecile who genuinely doesn't comprehend how preferential voting works or are you just a Liberal stooge spraying round their retarded propaganda?

      Comment by Zzzz on 12 October 2010 at 19:38
      • It's actually very simple.
        The new Greens member for Melbourne (and Bob Brown) supported Gillard to become PM.
        Greens = Labor.

        Comment by Cam on 14 October 2010 at 11:21
    • You really do need to do your research. January 2000 is when the 'Internet Censorship Regime Commenced" by a little change to the Broadcasting Communications Act, requiring ISPs to regulate. Two years later a little change to the FOI Act 1982 removing public access to documents such as the "blacklisted" sites. Correct me if I'm wrong, but weren't the Coalition in power then. As for Libs saying they were against it .. see that ball of dust in the distance... that's them running from the last deal they made. Anyway, censorship is like politics itself is not unique to a single political party. Government's need to be regulated by the citizens.

      Comment by Mikki on 27 November 2010 at 22:10
  7. I'm a strongly supporter of the government's National Broadband Network and the potential that brings to Australians - but at the cost of censorship, its a mighty price to pay.

    Comment by @BrendanErskine on 12 October 2010 at 18:06
  8. Julia, why don't you listen to the experts instead of the stunted fanatics who would like to drag us back to the Victorian era. The proposed filter will not prevent child pornography, nor other reprehensible content. Further, it belittles the Australian public's ability to educate and protect their children. The government should get out of the internet censorship business and stop imposing its moralistic tyranny. The filter is a horrible precedent and has the potential to lead to serious repressions.

    The public have said they are not in favour of the filter. Why are you so adamant about shoving it down our throats?

    Comment by Sylvia P on 12 October 2010 at 18:14
  9. Gillard and Conroy need to just stop for a minute and use their tiny brains.

    If it is LEGAL for people to get around the proposed filter (and extremely effortless), what is the point of wasting time and money even discussing it? There are plenty of other measures that could be implemented a lot easier, cheapr and quicker that would "protect the children" without punishing the rest of us responsible Australians.

    Want to burn cash on something as dumb as this? FINE! Provide a government subsidy on the net filtering software available at retail level to be installed at home. That way the bad parents can "protect their kids" and your morally saved.

    Comment by Frankie on 12 October 2010 at 18:22
    • Frankie et al... I couldn't agree more. With respect to the NBN and the waste of money and up until reading this a few minutes ago (and still do) agree with the self-installed home internet filter, that works in pretty much the same way as virus protection applications do. However, today with smartphones and many kids having access to smartphones that argument may go out the window. Hey .. what am I saying - there's probably an app for that. : )

      Comment by Mikki on 27 November 2010 at 22:18
  10. Gillard and Conroy just continue to use specious reasoning. The argument is repeatedly made that the internet should be brought into line with other technologies, but censorship of the internet in Australia is already more strict than for other technologies (and most other countries, for that matter). There is content that can be broadcast on network TV, but not the internet. But the illegal content that they keep yapping on about is illegal either way - internet or no internet, on DVD, in print, on photographs. If you own it, or distribute it, you get put before the courts and are likely to be convicted for it. It appearing on the internet doesn't make it legal, and anyone dumb enough to use the web for that deserves to be caught. There's also the Australian peculiarity of "RC" which effectively means "not illegal, but we're going to do what we can to ban it anyway", which constitutes most of the blacklist.

    What they're attempting to do is nothing like anything else - they're targeting the MEDIUM rather than the CONTENT. If they want this system to be consistent as they are arguing, they will need to open every letter and parcel to check it for porn, put a filter in every television, and in every telephone, station federal police outside every cinema, require government approval for every book purchase. With this system of censorship before the fact, without accountability or appeal, we lose the checks and balances that the courts are supposed to provide.

    And, above all, Labor is attempting to create something substantially different to censorship of any other content - censorship based on a secret government blacklist. For everything else, we can check exactly what was banned, and why. If we disagree, we can appeal. If not, we still have a system of accountability. As dangerous as government censorship is, accountability and transparency are by far the most important aspects of any censorship in a modern democracy. Labor is prepared to toss it out the window for... actually, it's not entirely clear why. Since the filter won't work (and they know it), it can't be for Chinese-inspired government control of information. One can only think they've just dug themselves a hole they can't get out of, and one can only hope that the legislation is defeated or that Labor loses their government-without-a-mandate before the next election.

    Comment by Stuart on 12 October 2010 at 18:29
  11. You just know the Government will do something shifty to get this over the line in some way, shape or form. My guess? They'll tie the filter to the NBN somehow and we won't get one without the other.

    "She said the government is working through how the internet filter could be introduced without slowing down connection speed or accidentally banning content that is appropriate."

    Interesting statement given that Senator Conroy has been banging on and on about how speed is in no way impacted (suspending all logic and the laws of physics of course) with his 1/70th of a blink of an eye rubbish.

    Comment by evilsnoofy on 12 October 2010 at 18:41
  12. The vast majority of Australians voted for parties that do not support mandatory Internet filtering. Says it all.

    Comment by Kiteflyer on 12 October 2010 at 19:04
  13. Dear Julia

    the proposed internet filter will not stop people accessing illegal content that is hosted abroad as it is trivial to arrange software that will bypass such a filter. Illegal content that is hosted inside Australia is readily handled by existing laws.

    Furthermore, I am deeply concerned that the blacklisted sites will be secret. It is not in the citizens' long term interests to permit a government to gain the power to censor, in secret, any source of information.

    Comment by Robert on 12 October 2010 at 19:34
  14. > "It is unlawful for me to go to the cinema and watch some certain sorts of
    > content...
    >
    > "Content that is child abuse, incredibly violent pornography, we say that is wrong
    > and we don't show it in Australian cinemas.
    >
    > "If we accept that, then it seems to me the moral question is not changed by the
    > medium that the image has come through."

    Well, that's plainly ridiculous. It's illegal for me to utter certain words on television, but not for me to utter them in private conversation. Clearly, the medium makes all the difference, at least in one case. And if one, then why not two or three?

    Oh wait. She started with "illegal" and shifted to "moral". Maybe she thought we wouldn't notice that. I don't know why she even bothers with the pretence of argument when she just wants to shove it down our throats regardless of the illogicality of it.

    As many of us as possible should circumvent this asinine filter -- if ever it gets up, that is -- just on general principle.

    Comment by Allan Lewis on 12 October 2010 at 20:44
  15. It would have to be obvious to most people that the filter is a waste of time & money and won't provide the security they are hoping. So with the facts clearly on the table, my question is, "what is the REAL reason they want to introduce the filter?".. Some thoughts that come to mind are...

    1. A deal under the table with some kickbacks to the companies involved in setting it up?

    2. Surveillance of the public's internet use as they will have to monitor all traffic to "implement" the filter, so every "safe" site you visit will be monitored and checked. It would go hand in hand with the ACTA anti counterfeiting treaty. How far does this surveillance go? Even with the means to circumvent the filter, your connection may still be logged/monitored.

    The moral stance the Government should be taking is being completely transparent and honest with the people! You cannot wrap everyone in cotton wool, so why sugar coat things, harsher penalties for serious offenders would be more effective.

    Comment by Joe on 12 October 2010 at 21:14
  16. Her logic is fatally flawed. We know what has been banned under the current media censorship laws. Her proposal is that we will not know what has been banned under the internet filtering scheme . That is a massive difference and her proposal is totally immoral. She knows it too.

    Comment by Steve on 12 October 2010 at 23:09
  17. Just because something is law doesn't mean everything else has to follow. Some laws are just wrong or no longer relevant. Like anti-abortion legislation. So saying "We have to go the path of film classification" just cuz, is a very pedestrian argument.

    Comment by Nathanael Boehm on 13 October 2010 at 07:23
  18. Once they paid off Telstra to shut down all the competitive fixed access networks, they'll be able to slip the filter into the monopoly NBN. NBNCo might even do this on a voluntary basis in return for the government subsidies. No legislation required.

    Comment by Jim on 13 October 2010 at 07:42
  19. Ive educated my children on what not to do on the internet, I monitor their usage and check on who they chat with .Eduacation is the key here not censorship of all Australians , where this censorship will stop once in place scares the living daylights out of me.
    The internet is not like a cinema and should not be used as a comparison.

    Comment by Odette Stevens on 13 October 2010 at 11:20
    • Best thing I've read.

      Thank you.

      Comment by MikkI on 27 November 2010 at 22:42
  20. Why did Labor stop handing out a free filter , at the moment none is in place - so really whos protection is it all about ? With internet being the wonderful medium it is , we actually are able to start keeping politicians a little more honest.They don't seem to like that much do they ?

    Comment by Odette Stevens on 13 October 2010 at 11:24
  21. Labor would have won the election easily had it not been for the filter. It annoys me they refuse to admit that.

    Yet what is really going on here is an argument about "Refused Classification"... All sexual fetishes are banned, yet you can do it in your home, but with the filter we couldn't tell/show our friends on the internet. (It is a communication medium after all).

    Look at it this way, the man who wrote the laws (on his own by the way) said there is no such thing a female ejaculation. It's now proven to be real, although not every woman experiances it. This man only had 1 wife, who he met in high school.... gee... so he's only ever had one woman, so why is he so sure about all other women? Simple he wrote his PERSONAL VIEWS not the views of science or the public.

    This is the real crux of the problem. I hate the idea of Child Porn, but I don't think wearing PVC while having sex to be in the same catagory, yet under the law they are! Society has moved one since the laws were written up. We now see a seperation.

    Then there are free speech issues. Like instruction on how to manage a drug addiction. Well we don't have Free Speech and such comments or messages are illegal. So lots of books are not sold in Australia. We can't talk openly about a whole range of subjects. For drug addiction the law says you can only talk about not using it at all, nothing more. We're not allowed under our laws to speak about reduction because that isn't "on message" ... Which is a croc, the best techniques to deak with drug addiction around the world are illegal in Australia due to these out dated laws.

    To put the problems simply:
    1) The RC laws are seriously out of date.
    2) The internet is a communication medium.
    3) We have no free speech in this country (federally).
    4) The adults you don't want to see it will just go around the filter.
    5) The kids you don't want to see will still be able to chat with pedophiles.

    To put the success simply:
    1) Pushes all these problems under the rug, giving the politicans and religous people a false sense of security.
    2) The "NetAlert" program from Howard worked and worked well. You couldn't type sexual words into google, it stopped pedophies from chatting with kids... Only because its running on the PC and can 'see' what the user types on the keyboard.
    3) We'll have some common ground to chat about with other countries like China, Iran, North Korea. After all they are a beacon of freedom, so what ever they do has to be the best for it's citizens. *sarcasm*

    Comment by FreeThinker on 13 October 2010 at 13:22
    • Agree with most of what you have said and it seems strange that Australia signed the UN's Bill of Human Rights and on there it clearly states all people have the right to remain silent or speak in any medium (refer Article 19).

      Let's not forget that a liberal government will generally support big business and big corporations. TV stations and print media were losing their audiences VERY fast with the computers entering homes and the www coming into existence. The opinion of whatever government (be it Libs/ Labor/ Singing Shoemen) usually spoon fed to us by media they could kinda control was losing its grip on its faithful audience. It was going elsewhere and they were forming their own opinions and communicating them to a wide audience - and it wasn't the party line is! OMG! Quick! "How do we take back control? There must be something in the Broadcast Act?" ... "No? What do you mean - NO!?" ... "It's technically not "broadcasting?" (really person to person to person is not broadcasting word of mouth communication) "We'll see about that... Quick - get a legislation through saying this rogue new fandangle media has to regulate to ... ummm .... ummm... safety... safety... aha! - got it lets say it will protect kiddies". Voila ... and the media corporations stomped on the little mouse that roared... and bought up as much space as it could on the internet... keeping the public ignorant and commercial interests happy. Again politics is politics is politics.... it doesn't matter what the party.

      Having said that I can only imagine how bad some of these sites are and blocking them, so the NetAlert program comes close. but who monitors what goes onto the list? A fanatic is a fanatic is a fanatic....

      Comment by Mikki on 27 November 2010 at 22:39
  22. The biggest opportunity of our generation and all they can talk about is how to lock it up. Pathetic.

    Comment by Simon on 13 October 2010 at 13:26
  23. This whole approach to collectively netting information is defacing the individual and number crunching the population for the benefit of a prejudiced few who seem to employ some vague notion of moral standardisation as a means to feel they can safely sleep at night.

    And we continue on this penalty based society, where the individual is a) seemingly guilty before they've even 'done anything against the institutional rules of the country' or b) penalised. The whole process is one of encouraging infantilism and to keep people docile and therefore easily herded into whatever daft scheme fits the benefit of the government.

    Comment by Rups on 13 October 2010 at 17:05