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Australian Opposition Vows to Block Internet Filter
Source: abc.net.au
Source Date: Friday, August 06, 2010
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Citizen Engagement
Country: Australia
Created: Aug 08, 2010

Australia's Opposition treasury spokesman, Joe Hockey, says the Coalition will not back the government's proposed internet filter.

The government announced the filter two years ago as part of its cyber safety program to protect children from pornography and offensive material.

The plan has been criticised by internet users who claim it will slow download speeds and lead to unwarranted censorship.

Mr Hockey says if Labor wins the election the opposition will not vote in favour of the filter.

"We believe the internet filter will not work and we believe it's flawed policy," he said.

"It is not going to capture a whole lot of images and chatter that we all find offensive ... that are going through email."

He says the Coalition would stick to the plan of "giving parents more control".

"The ISP filter-based system does not work, therefore it creates ... an assumption of trust that cannot be met by the technology."

Last month the Government announced an independent review of its filter policy.

The review, which could take up to a year, will look at what makes up "refused classification" rated content.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the review had nothing to do with criticism of the proposal from the likes of Google and the US government.

Senator Conroy had originally intended to introduce the legislation in the first half of this year but then deferred it to later in 2010.

Electronic Frontiers Australia, which monitors online freedoms and rights, has welcomed Mr Hockey's stance.

"We call on Minister Conroy and the Gillard Government to now admit the mandatory filter policy is dead, and to move on to a debate more grounded in reality," EFA chair Colin Jacobs said.

"The Government must now listen to the experts and get back to working on giving Australians access to better and faster broadband."

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam says the Coalition's announcement is "excellent news".

"The Liberal Party should be congratulated for finally declaring their hand," he said.

"The ALP should drop the censorship proposal rather than fighting what now looks inevitable."
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