1999 Campaign against Australian Net Censorship Laws

EFA's Say No to Net Censorship campaign opposing the Commonwealth Goverment's Internet censorship laws commenced in early 1999. The then proposed laws were watered down before being aproved by the Parliament in May/June 1999 and becoming effective on 1 January 2000. The Bill was passed on the votes of the government (Liberal/National Party Coalition) plus the vote of the well-known pro-censorship Senator, Brian Harradine, who held the balance of power in the Senate prior to 30 June 1999. Opposition parties (ALP, Democrats and Greens) voted against the Bill.

Say NO to Net Censorship

The amendments to the Bill resulted in ISPs not being forced by law to block Australian Internet users' access to Internet content on overseas sites as the Government had intended. However, the enacted law nevertheless forces ISPs and ICHs to delete Australian-hosted content deemed 'unsuitable for minors' from their web and newsgroup servers when they receive a 'take-down' notice from the Government regulator (i.e. from the Australian Broadcasting Authority).

While the amendments passed were an improvement, EFA continues to oppose the Commonwealth Internet censorship regime which is the most draconian Internet censorship regime existing or proposed (as at March 2002) in any country broadly comparable to Australia in terms of democratic political systems and cultures. See also EFA's March 2002 report on laws around the world.

EFA urges all who value freedom of speech to continue to lobby their Members of Parliament and Senators seeking repeal of the legislation.

For more information see:

In addition, some State/Territory Governments have enacted and/or proposed Internet censorship laws that apply to ordinary users and content providers. These laws make it a criminal offence to make content unsuitable for minors (persons under 18 years) available online, even if the content is only made available to adults. The State/Territory laws are said to "complement" the Commonwealth law which forces ISPs and ICHs to take content down but, unlike the State/Territory laws, does not enable prosecution of the content provider/publisher.

For more information about State/Territory laws, see:

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Say No to Net Censorship