back to article Great Australian Firewall dead in the water?

The final nail in the coffin of the great Australian Firewall was hammered home last week when independent Senator Nick Xenophon withdrew support for the measure. This takes the voting arithmetic in the Australian Upper House beyond the point of no-return, as there are now 43 votes stacked up against the proposal with just 33 in …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Lucky Country?

    Some common sense from Australia at last. I've never known a country who's public image is so at odds with the reality; when I visit I'm always amazed by how oppressive and rules-obsessed it is. Didn't know about Queensland's God-bothering though; it explains the joke a Queenslander told me last time I was there; "why doesn't Queensland having daylight saving time? Because if it did they'd have to put the clocks back 30 years".

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    Really, could we not call it something else given recent events! Perhaps 'big eSecurity fence'

  3. Drusenija
    Paris Hilton

    Finally coming to their senses

    It's nice to see that common sense is starting to prevail here; sometimes I honestly believe that our government forgets that they're there to act on _behalf_ of the people, as opposed to completely against them.

    Paris, because she's always up for a Sex Party.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Queensland and sex

    Xenphon has done some research then.

    As for Sex party, how would you tell it from any other political mob in Oz?

    yep, high pregnancy rate in Qld.

    in other states a simple little killing in the local hospital fixes that statistic.

    Qld vice is as good as any in Sydney though, if you hang around the Valley in Brizzie.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Senator Xenophon

    Wasn't he in one of the Star Wars films?

  6. Steve Roper

    All well and good, but...

    Nick Xenophon started his political career as an MP in my local constituency here in Adelaide, where he ran for office as an Independent on his "No Pokies" (meaning banning poker machines) platform. Although he was voted in, mainly because he was the only alternative to the Labor / Liberal (read: Communist / Fascist) duopoly in our electorate, he never succeeded in his stated goal; and Australia being a nation of compulsive gamblers he found his efforts largely opposed by the community at large, and it cost him quite some popularity over his term. So it comes as no surprise that as a Senator he initially supported the idea of censoring against gambling sites, and quite a few of us were waiting nervously for his decision since he effectively held balance of power in the Senate.

    At the risk of sounding cynical, I have to wonder how much his decision to vote against the censorship regime was therefore an effort to regain political popularity, as opposed to any genuine ideological opposition to internet censorship. Certainly a lot of people will now decide they like him for his stance, while the Christian / Family lobby groups, who are self-righteously convinced they know best how the rest of us should live, are now likely to disown him. If this is indeed his motive, it remains to be seen whether he abides by his decision at the final vote or does a back-flip if those noisy bigots put enough pressure on him. So I'll be reserving judgement until I hear the actual announcement that this entire farce has been permanently shelved; only then would I consider voting for him.

  7. Andy Hards

    God kills a kitten everytime someone has a crafty tug?

    That's amazing! And this is taught by the same people who teach that Mary was knocked up by a ghost/spirit while married to a carpenter called Joe?

    All sounds a bit Maircan to me but what do I know?

    These people shouldn't be allowed access to computers at all, with or without the censorship.

    They probably believe that the recent fires were a biblical event designed to kill off the ungodly.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Purile Comment Ahead

    Senator Xenophon.

    Bloody hell. That's the greatest name ever.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Yes, I really do kill a kitten

    Every time you masturbate.

    So think on.

  10. Paul

    the kittens

    Won't someone PLEASE think of the kittens?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The great barrier brief fief chief's beef grief.

    Alas it came and went too fast.

  12. John Smith Gold badge

    "The price of freedom"

    "is eternal vigilance" from numpties like Minister Con-roy.

    "the Government should instead put the money towards educating parents on how to supervise their kids online and tackling "pedophiles through cracking open those peer-to-peer groups".

    OMG. Parents should, i dunno, like, get involved in raising their kids.

    Its a bit radical.

    "Queensland has the second highest rate of teenage pregnancies in the country, after Tasmania"

    Which suggests that quite a lot of teens do indeed have sex. So what makes Queesland "Special."? The high testosterone levels in the boys? Or perhaps the poor contraception and sex education services coupled with the high level of God bothering going on. I'm always suspicious of religious types on an anti-sex crusade. As if they are keen to direct attention away from their own interests, whatever they may be.

    And what will be the bill for this excursion into mass silliness?

    But overall. Good result. Now if only we can get that degree of sense into people in the UK.

  13. b
    Thumb Up

    I hate kittens

    So this is win-win as far as I'm concerned

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Banna bender

    Haha funny reading those comments about QLD especially being a queenslander born and breed, (no longer living in god's country though). High teenage pregnancy rates, wow all i can say on that is when growing up in a state where we all live down at the beach what can you expect when your a teen and most girls are wearing bikini's ;)

    Due to the size of QLD and the fact that there have always been a higher rate of pensioners than any other state we seem to gather those bitter old people who only have their religion and know how to use their public voice, to give an example when i grew up in QLD they actually banned GNR appetite because of its "Non-Christian" lyrics, ahhh bless.

    I have to admit to penning my name against this stupid firewall so am glad that for once the govt actually got stalled on that although how much of that is down to peoples pressure as opposed to internal political wrangling's is anyones guess.

  15. DutchOven

    RE: the kittens

    @Paul: Won't someone PLEASE think of the kittens?

    I *AM* thinking of the kittens. Unfortunately, I now have an erection. (Nothing I can't deal with with a below-table shuffle)

    Just one question: Does this mean that twice as many kittens are going to have to die?

  16. Richard Porter

    Senator Xenophon

    Does that mean he talks with a foreign accent?

  17. Richard Porter
    Gates Horns

    Re. Firewall?

    Shouldn't it be a Prudewall?

  18. Dave


    Never liked kittens that much anyway - sounds like a good deal to me.

  19. Player_16

    @Andy Hards

    'They probably believe that the recent fires were a biblical event designed to kill off the ungodly.'

    You must've had a spiritual calling. Only the Victorian Christian leader Danny Nalliah says:

    '“INCENDIARY” abortion law reforms last year that made Victoria “the baby-killing state” are responsible for the devastating bushfires,'

    They come in thick and fast:

    'God’s protection has been taken off the state, and Satan is having a go at the nation.'

    My head hurts.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Andy Hards

    "Mary was knocked up by a ghost/spirit while married to a carpenter called Joe?" BEFORE she was married, not after.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    An historical comment behind

    @AC 11:21 - agreed. But wouldn't it have been even more awesome if his parents had named him Xander. Imagine having two famous names from ancient history (and civilization), not to mention initialing the Instruments of State, Treaties, Memoranda, ... mwha even the SeX Par T would have to love him.

  22. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse
    Thumb Up

    The Australian Christian lobby...

    This is the same party who were interviewed on Reuters recently lobbying for a ban on females sunbathing topless as they believe that it is degrading to the females, offensive to children and that it enourages lecherous behaviour and sinful thoughts in men.

    I'm not so sure about the first two. But I am sure it encourages lecherous behavior and sinful thoughts in these pathetic and repressed Christian lobbyists who, being scared of everything feel the need to have it banned. Perverts, the lot of them.

    It was good that Reuters balanced the report with vox pops from the citizens on the beach at the time - all of whom basically thought that the Christian lobbyist interviewed was a complete twat.

  23. Magani

    @ Andy Hards

    "They probably believe that the recent fires were a biblical event designed to kill off the ungodly."

    Close. The rather ironically-named "Catch the Fires" ministry has a two way bet:- The fires are the result of either climate change or Victoria's abortion laws.

    If it wasn't so sad it'd be funny. When can we hit rampant god-botherers with the big clue stick, or at least have them censored?

    Fire, naturally.

  24. michael

    sex party


  25. Chris C

    Who's exploited?

    "The Australian Sex Party exists to represent the interests of businesses who make money from the exploitation and degradation of women"

    I love that line. "The exploitation and degradation of women". It' s used by puritans and feminazis all over the world, apparently. Doesn't it just get under your skin and make you want to revolt against such vile businesses that would do such a thing to these poor, helpless women? Maybe it's just me, but I fail to see how consensual-sex pornography exploits or degrades women. The women acting certainly don't seem to have any problem with it. Personally, I think those people who complain that it's degrading to women are the ones who are degrading women by acting as if those women are hurting themselves but are too stupid to realize it.

    Those same puritans and feminazis like to say the same thing about strip clubs, too -- they exploit and degrade women. Every time a woman has the audacity to show a little skin (whether it's in porn, at a strip club, wearing a bikini at the beach, or simply wearing a midriff-baring shirt), these people claim it's degrading. Contrast that to the woman showing the skin who feel it's sexy and liberating. It sounds like a jealousy issue to me. Those who are against it are only against it because they can't do the same thing and get the same reaction. Either that or they're bible thumpers who say that showing skin is the work of the devil and the skin barer is going to hell and will bring all of society with her (remember: showing skin = bad, killing people = good).

    Let's face it. Pornography and strip clubs DO exploit people, but it's not women they exploit. It's the men who are quick to part with their money that are exploited. What pornography and strip clubs show is not the degradation of women, but the empowerment of women. They are clear and undeniable illustrations that when it comes to sex, women have all the power. And when it comes to non-sexual issues, women still have all the power if the men think there's even a microscopic chance of having sex. So let's be honest about it. People aren't against pornography and/or strip clubs because they're exploitative or degrading to women. People are against them because in those areas, women use their bodies and/or sex to get what they want, and those people would be more comfortable if women used other means to get what they want (money, intelligence, fear/intimidation, etc) -- anything but body/sex.

  26. Alex
    Thumb Up


    Did you just register that name for this article? If so, kudos. Also i need a new keyboard.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Queensland Daylight Saving

    @AC 09:28:

    Another story about why Queensland doesn't have daylight saving dates back to when Joh Bjelke-Petersen (google for him if you're not familiar with his antics).

    It seems that Joh thought the sun shone out of his arse, and he wasn't getting up an hour earlier for _anyone_.

  28. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Who's exploited?

    I'll restrict myself to saying that I think that represents an awfully restricted absolutist view of an incredibly complex issue.

  29. Pierre

    Virgin birth...

    Might occur. For real. It's mostly seen in secondary schools or high school, where teens and young adults tend to play /ante portas/ sex games. These little buggers are amazing swimmers you know. But I bet that's not how this is taught in these Aussie schools.

  30. Ken Hagan Gold badge
    Thumb Up


    ...grow up into song-bird-molesting cats. So tossing is now officially good for the environment? Smashing!

  31. Daniel Free

    let he who is without sin ....

    cast the 1st stone.

    "The Australian Sex Party exists to represent the interests of businesses who make money from the exploitation and degradation of women"

    whereas the church has such an exceptional history of treating women as equals...

    now what was the name of the 1st female pope again ?

  32. RW

    @ Chris C re Puritans and feminazis

    You left off plain, old-fashioned prudes.

    One has to wonder if the Ozzie Bible-thumpers realize how transparent they are? Just as those who spout the most virulent homophobia turn out to have the most intense repressed homosexual urges, so the incessant emphasis of Australian Christian League on other people's sex lives reveals that ACLers are nothing more than extremely dirty-minded snoops. They think about other people's sex lives when they wake up in the morning, they think about them while preparing for the day, during the day, in the evening, and before they nod off to sleep.

    How sad!

    The Sex Party should really put the fat in the fire and propose that Australia, as a good socialist country, needs to ensure that its citizens are sexually well-adjusted. Method to be proposed for curing the sexually maladjusted: mandatory incarceration in brothels while well dosed with Viagra and Ecstasy so as to remove all inhibitions and dysfunctions. Streaming video of the resultant shenanigans would be the cherry on top of the sundae. If, that is, anyone wants to watch aged Bible-thumpers fall prey to their innermost urges.

  33. David Pollard

    Totalitarians can be disporportionately effective

    Given that "recent polls .. show[ed] just 5 percent and 4 percent respectively believe that internet filtering should be in the hands of ISPs or Government," this bandwaggon went a surprisingly long way.

    @ Sarah Bee

    Though it's appropriate to point out that by no means are all women exploitative, it might have been better had extreme factions of the feminist movement concentrated more on liberating from their preconceptions men who had been conditioned into chauvinist behaviour patterns rather than seeking to emulate them with calls to empower women.

  34. Chris C

    @ Sarah

    "I'll restrict myself to saying that I think that represents an awfully restricted absolutist view of an incredibly complex issue."

    I apologize if I offended you, as that certain was not my intention. Re-reading my comment, I can understand why you might think that, but I don't see myself as having an absolutist view. I just haven't met anyone who can give me any legitimate reason for their opposing viewpoint (their viewpoint being that porn, strip clubs, and skin-baring clothing are exploitative and degrading to women). All of the people I have heard from use one (or more) of these three reasons:

    1) "Because it is". I immediately ignore this crowd because that's not a valid reason. If you can't tell me why you object to something, then I cannot consider it a legitimate objection.

    2) "It makes men think of women as sex objects". This group obviously has no idea how men think. Whether a woman is nude or clothed, having sex or filing her taxes, men will see her the same way. If a man sees a woman as a sex object when she's showing some skin, he'll see her as a sex object when she's completely covered as well. The clothing she is or isn't wearing is irrelevant.

    3) This last reason is specifically regarding skin-baring clothing: "It makes young girls think it's acceptable and encourages them to dress the same way". This, however, is not a legitimate reason, either. The fact that young girls may start wearing the same clothing does not explain why someone finds it degrading. Do I think young girls should be wearing midriff-exposing shirts or short skirts? No. But that doesn't make it degrading or exploitative to women.

    I have no doubt that there are women who are forced into the sex business, and that there are many who enter the sex business because they feel they have nowhere else to turn. I wholeheartedly agree that those two groups are exploited. But what percentage of the sex industry does that account for? Am I just being overly naive in thinking that it's a very small percentage?

    If you have an opposing viewpoint, or can point me in the direction of one, I'd love to hear it because I'd honestly like to understand why so many women are against porn and strip clubs.

  35. Kate
    Thumb Up

    Daylight saving

    @AC 14:59

    Nah, that's not the reason, we don't have daylight saving because that extra hour fades the curtains.

    @ Daniel Free

    Pope Joan. Although she was possibly an urban myth.

    On topic, good on yer, Nick! Seems all is not lost in Aussie polly ticks just yet! Looks like I may just vote for the first time in 20 years for the ASP, and if that is regarded as exploiting Anna Bligh (Qld Premier) then so be it!

  36. Pat

    "God kills a kitten every time someone masturbates"

    It has to be said - their religion desn't like pussies.

  37. Neoc

    @Daylight Savings

    @Kate: "we don't have daylight saving because that extra hour fades the curtains."

    If anyway does not believe the above (sarcastic) quote, it's true. This is an actual response from the then-in-charge National Party during the first QLD Daylight Saving referendum.

    As for the "Christian" party, what are *they* worrying about? Obviously if we QLDer are such God-fearing electorates, there's no way the "Sex" party will win any seats - so where's the problem?

  38. eros
    Thumb Up

    fiona sex party

    Sadly the sex party could not get it up quickly enough to run in QLD. Nominations closed less than a week after the election was called. We are hoping to endorse candidates there that support our policies. We will definitely be running plenty of candidates in Qld and elsewhere in the federal election.

    Re the filter the proposal is for a 2 tier system. You can opt out of the first tier but the second one in mandatory. I suspect we will see a compromise where the first tier is dropped but the mandatory tier stays. This filter will force all ISPs to block sites that have X rated (sexually explicit). The ACMA will keep a blacklist - although they think the list will be about 13,000 sites. On my count that leaves quite a few million adult sites unfiltered.

  39. Originone

    The Feral Solution

    "God kills a kitten every time someone masturbates"

    Look like there is a solution to the feral cats the plague native wildlife in large areas of Australia.

  40. Magani

    @AC Qld Daylight Saving

    Ahhh, memories of the Jo & Flo Show...

    Anyone got the Pumpkin Scone recipe handy?

    They don't rort politics like they used to.

    Mine's the one with the Kingaroy voters^h^h^h^h^h^h peanuts in the pocket

  41. michael

    re:Re: Who's exploited?

    I agree with everything you say sara

    ok course I always agree with you cos it microscopicley increases my chance knowing you intermitley

  42. Anonymous Coward

    God kills a kitten?

    Can you reference that? Or is it just a little smear? Oops

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    QLD and sex education

    I'm not sure that rural Queensland is any more or less prudish or bigotted than the rural areas of any other state in the country but it doesn't have a city like Sydney or Melbourne to balance out the headcases. Having the National Party in charge for 30 years certainly didn't help. "Sir" Joh was the biggest headcase of them all.

    I went to high school in Queensland in the late-80s when AIDS was really getting started. What do you imagine was "Sir" Joh's response to calls for greater education in schools about the disease?

    "We're not changing the curriculum. Teenagers shouldn't be having sex and what they don't know won't hurt them."

    I kid you not.

    His other great quote was to a female journalist who asked him a difficult (read: embarrassing) question in a press conference: "don't you worry your pretty little head about that. You just go and find yourself a nice husband and forget all this."

    And he was corrupt. Along with half the police force.

    Gotta love Queensland.

    Still though, it does have some beautiful beaches.

  44. John Smith Gold badge

    @AC 15:05

    "don't you worry your pretty little head about that. You just go and find yourself a nice husband and forget all this."


    That is all.

  45. David Roberts


    Just working on the first batch of (Unisex) "Queensland Kitten Killer" T-shirts.

    This should sort out the cognoscenti from the great unwashed - see how many people think it is a rock band (...hang on...umm...not a bad name for a band...)

    What colours would you like?

  46. Jerome


    I don't understand why it would be "hugely ironic if Labour cannot now pass its laws on censoring the internet, at the same time as seeing a pro-sex party gaining its first seats in the Federal legislature." Surely for the two things to occur at around the same time is to be expected - where's the irony?

  47. BioTube

    And you call US prudes

    These Queensland people are absolutely insane! While they breathe, nobody's got any reason to call the US a nation of prudes. Hmm... mine's the one with the relevant details to make several large donations.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On my knees for jesus - with my mouth wide open.

    Australian Christian Lobby ought to be following True Christian Biblical Principles and reintroduce the Temple Whores, to serve God and the Priests and Priestess's.

    At my chuch - the Charlton Combined Christian Peoples Political Party - we have men and women cuing up for the positions.

    May the love of Jesus be with us all.


    Paster Fanny.

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