back to article Australia unbans the internet

Australia's minister for broadband, and censorship, Stephen Conroy has delayed the switch-on of its Chinese-style national firewall until after the election. Conroy's moves have been criticised on technical, practical, economic and moral grounds to no avail. But it seems the danger of losing votes has focused his mind. Trials …


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  1. Aussie Brusader

    Conroy Connector for the LAN Down Under

    My money's on it re-appearing after the election that's due to be announced.

    1. dshan

      Filter Feeders

      It will only reappear after the election *if* the independent, creationist senator Steven Fielding gets reelected. This filter was never a government idea, it was always driven by Fielding who holds one of the two deciding votes in the Senate. Without his vote the government can get no legislation through, they are government in name only. Is anyone surprised that Labor have therefore done as much as they can to please the religious nutter from Victoria? Is anyone silly enough to believe the opposition would have acted any differently in the same position?

      The key point is that although they've talked the talk on the filter the government have taken every opportunity to delay it as long as possible - first endless tests and trials, now a review of classification standards just before the next election. An election at which Fielding has to face the people again. Clearly the government is hoping (with good reason) he will lose his seat and they can then drop the whole mess.

  2. Marvin the Martian

    American psycho banned?

    If it's the film, then an 18+ is fair (but ban bizarre). If the book, then the mind boggles.

    Book and film are very different; film is like an animation of most of what the narrator claims to have done (and hence a tedious and gruesome thing), while the book makes it clear the narrator is an unpleasant fantasist, ignored by his peers.

  3. LaeMing

    Standard ploy

    Go quiet on vote-looser issue, let other issues run the election, then (assuming you win on those other issues) claim a mandate to act on the silenced issue.

    Cynical? Moi?

    1. Skydreamer

      @LaeMing - Absolutely correct

      This is the way many "mandates" have been claimed -- Labor/Rudd wasn't voted in in 2007 because of all the quiet things "promised" but some of the more emotive topics at the time, like WorkChoices and the general disgust/dissatisfaction with the previous government.

      Both major parties are operating exactly in this way now as we approach the next election.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't understand this

    Aussies are mostly a pretty hardy bunch, or at least the ones i've met. (Ok hardly a representative sample, but nonetheless...). and tend not to be too easily offended.

    How can this minister possibly think it is a good idea to wrap the nation in internet based cotton wool?

    1. Anonymous Coward


      All summed up in one phrase, "Somebody think of the children!".

      Scaring mums and dads is best tactic to assure votes. You scare the life out of a load paranoid, over-protective mums and dads that little Amy and little Johnny could be taken away by some freak they may have met online, they will be queuing up to put an X in the box on polling day. The internet is, to Mr Conroy anyway, a nasty place that only "da yoof" understand, so he plays on that fear to get a reaction and probably boost his buddies bank balances.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      re: Don't understand this

      It's for two reasons mainly.

      - The fact that the "block" list is confidential means that the govt can put anything they like on it. This is useful for blocking voices of opposition. This is also done in the UK via the IWF blacklist.

      - Censorship in general sends a message to the populace: "me boss, you not, do what you're god-damn told". It's just like holding down a dog until it submits and then becomes docile, or religious leaders asking followers to supress key instincts. All that's needed to totally own the target is acceptance of this first step. Next come the wars-for-profit, extreme beehive capitalism, financial oligarchy, corrupt media, and removal of all threatening civilian rights. Sounds a bit like "the land of the free" doesn't it? ;)

    3. btone

      Why Conroy Why?

      Well what many in the UK may not appreciate do I put this...oh well, here goes...

      Conroy was born in Ely, Cambridgeshire...

      Thats right, you saddled us with the looneytoon!

  5. Anonymous Coward

    The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

    "But it seems the danger of losing votes has focused his mind."

    You said it brother!

  6. Richard L
    Big Brother

    Adult Games Banned?

    Not normally, mostly they just get classified as MA15+.

    Admittedly a few aren't available or get changed, but the current system means things are generally more availale to the kids than they would otherwise be.

    Conroy and his ilk are a pack of numpties, and I look forward to being able to vote against them.

  7. lglethal Silver badge

    Lets think about this...

    The list is kept secret, the reason being (so they tell us) is that if the sites were made public would be kiddie fiddlers would know where to go (once theyve bypassed the firewall).

    Yet there will be a route to appeal to your site being on the list.

    Am i the only one seeing a disconnect here?

    Conroy is an utter disgrace, and so is Gillard for backing him. But whats perhaps even more disgraceful is that our main opposition party is refusing to say whether they will keep the firewall idea or not after the forthcoming election (naturally they will, being right wing god-botherers). As it stands i think i will be donkey voting because none of the parties represent me anymore...

    1. Pablo

      Odd, isn't it?

      Although presumably you know you're on the list once you suddenly cease getting any traffic from Australia.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Any person running a website outside Australia who doesn't get any traffic from Australia should therefore appeal to get their site taken off the list.

        I'm sure that will keep a lot of Australian civil servants occupied.

    2. Goat Jam

      Donkey Voting

      It doesn't mean what you appear to think it means. I assume you are thinking of an informal vote.

      Donkey vote : To vote for whoever happens to be at the top of the voting form. Your vote goes to whoever is on the top.

      Informal vote: To lodge an ambiguous or incorrectly marked vote. Your vote is not counted.

      Adding an additional voting square named "Nobody" and putting your mark there is a fun way to vote informal.

      We should all vote for Nobody. Remember, "Nobody tells the truth" and "Nobody cares what you think"

      Vote Nobody!!!

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Slime to the last

    "Stephen Conroy has delayed the switch-on of its Chinese-style national firewall until after the election"

    I hope someone in Oz is running around making the point that, should Conroy win, he will still be hitting the button. Clearly when it comes to crap, deceitful electoral tactics, the Aussies still follow the mother country's lead.

  9. Ryan 7


    American Pyscho?

    1. Luther Blissett


      American Werewolf metaphorized. It's also American Grafitti metaphorized.

  10. Kevin (Just Kevin)
    Thumb Down


    I hate this para - it's wrong. And it keeps on getting repeated:

    "Trials of the initial system, which claimed only to block child sex abuse images, hit controversy when the secret blacklist of sites was leaked and found to contain a variety of other content - from vanilla porn to a site for a Tasmanian dentist."

    It didn't claim to block only child sex abuse, it promised to block all RC content. The list was leaked BEFORE the trial. It wasn't the blacklist that was leaked. It was a list. Of something. But since no actual system existed at the time, it didn't necessarily have any relationship to anything. It could have been a list of anything of the uestionable sort. And the dentist SITE was NOT listed, it was a deep link into the bowels of his site where some Russian (allegedly) porn ring had pwned it and was hosting child (I believe) porn.

    There are many reasons to object to this filter. That paragraph and all the falsehoods and misleading bits in it do no service to the cause.

  11. Winkypop Silver badge

    One reason, and only one reason...

    ...the upcoming election.

    After that, it'll be straight back on the fail-train for CONroy and his ilk.

    The Libs are pathetic and won't win NOR stop this censorship crap.


    All of them.

  12. Alfred 2

    So .....

    A dentists site banned!

    Hardcore teeth porn?

    1. Hyphen
      Paris Hilton

      Hardcore teeth porn

      Vagina Dentata?

      Paris, cause she bites too!

      1. Someone Else Silver badge


        Isn't that the name of a Police album?

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge


        Rule 34

    2. Alan Newbury

      A dentists site banned!

      Probably did a keyword search and found "root" canal...

  13. Martin.Hale

    Some Things Never Change

    Regardless of their leanings, pols the world around never fail to grovel for votes in order to keep their place at the public teat, do they?

    Bastards indeed!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If they vote these morons back in then they deserve everything they get. The Chinese have no choice but the Aussies do.

    1. LaeMing


      Every people ultimately gets the leadership they deserve. In 'democracies' it happens quickly, but even in places like China the people have a choice - the choice is harder to enact, but it is still there if they want to take it. The trick for any leadership is to keep the population just soft enough that the choice-action scares them more than putting up with the status quo.

  15. sT0rNG b4R3 duRiD

    No to filter.

    I propose that we oppose this more loudly. I don't think a filter should go up. I think some of the reasons behind it are noble - stop kiddie porn etc...

    but... for those whom remain unconvinced... (I reckon if you're here that's not an issue but I don't want to assume) hear me out....

    Why could this filter affect me?

    1. A sufficiently sensitive filter may not be sufficiently specific, and block all kinds of stuff.. It may make the everyday browsing experience we take for granted slightly irritating...

    2. And of course an insensitive filter will be useless...

    3. And what sort of filter will it be? something that adds significantly to network latency? I don't want to sound selfish here, but one consideration I am seriously worried about are my 'game ping times'... it's bad enough I have to connect to US based servers sometimes, but to have yet another speed bump...

    4. Lastly who or what decides gets filtered? As it is, there is a little uncertainty as to what constitutes 'extreme pr0n'.... And how often will goal posts change

    5. Who watches these people in (4)... what else could they get up to?

    No, it's clearly a noble idea, but difficult to implement.

    After all, you could go down the slippery slope and say that normal mail needs to be filtered as well. Or should be filtered as well. I know it is not the same but it is not too dissimilar in terms of what I would consider an invasion of privacy.

    More efforts should be put in place dealing with the underying issues instead:

    1) child molesters and sex abuse - are we doing enough here to deal with the offenders? How well are the cases worked up?

    2) children and their, quite frankly, incredulous exposure to the mass media at such young ages these days that the mind boggles... Kids these days are so precocious it's frankly frightening. For example I see toys and clothes these days prepubescent girls buy that I would never have dreamed would have been sold or worn by teenagers in my time.... Call me conservative and uptight, sure... how do we deal with this?

    I contend these issues are not going to be solved by an internet filter....

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Normal mail *is* the same.

      Ask everyone a simple question - would you object to having someone open all your post and take a look at it to ensure it doesn't contain 'objectionable' material?

      Certain governments have filtered normal mail in this way - I think Stalin's Russia was one.

  16. Barry 16

    Missing a state

    Not too impressed that Reg left the state of Tasmania off the map of Australia...

    1. Combat Wombat

      Its tassie

      No one cares!

      Go back to having improper relations with your cousin ! :P

      1. The Ref

        Except ...

        that material is banned and has just caused El Reg to appear on the list!

      2. Black Betty

        No one cares about Tassie itself.

        But the 'Map of Tassie' is of great interest to us blokes.

  17. Sillyfellow

    of course

    no surprise there then. of course this will be delayed till after elections, otherwise someone will get real unpopular real fast, and won't get re-elected at all. duh!

  18. Combat Wombat

    Well it seems..

    It seems that Labor have done some polling internally and found the mere switch to a new ginger overlord was not enough to endear them to the left.

    They have now realized that they are going to get an absolute thrashing from the left of Australia, which will more than likely give the greens extra seats in the senate, and maybe a seat or two in the lower house for the first time ever.

    This being said, they can now safely tell the family first retard... err senator Fielding to go and piss up a rope.

    Referring this to a year long committee is one of those classic yes minister tactics of quietly taking the bill out the back and shooting it when no one is looking.

    When the election is over I hope that we don't see this god awful idea returning.

    Oh, and for those of you who are hoping Conroy will get voted out this election, I am sorry to say that won't happen. He sits in the half of the senate that is not up for re-election this time around. You will have to wait for the next election some time in 2013 for that to happen.

    It is my profound hope that Fielding gets voted out, and then tarred and feathered.

    He is an awful politician, and can barely even spell despite claiming to have an engineering degree from RMIT.

    He only barely won last time, and his time around we are expecting him to get utterly rinsed and kicked out of his seat.

    1. Skydreamer
      Thumb Down

      "only barely won"? That's putting it mildly

      I read Mr Fielding got 0.08% of the primary vote for his seat, and his party only 1.9% for all of Victoria. The greens got 4 times more votes in that seat but the "preferences" stuff kicked in, putting one of the least-voted-for candidates into the senate. Seems "wrong" to me. Just like a party scraping in to power with just a couple of seats more than the next guy and saying they have a "clear mandate" for something or the other.

  19. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    So who is this Fielding character?

    And what will it take to facilitate a change of holder of his seat?

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Vanilla Porn?

    Porn with vanilla pods? Would this perhaps be classed as extreme porn?

    Paris, because I bet she tastes of vanilla

  21. Tim Jenkins


    "How can this minister possibly think it is a good idea to wrap the nation in internet based cotton wool?"

    Wrong kind of wool, surely?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Some sections of the community"

    I'm sick of the phrase "some sections of the community" being used in place of the phrase "90% of the population".

    And the list will be reviewed annually will it? well laa di daa that makes everything okay then doesn't it. I only have to lose out on an entire years business when you accidentally add my dental practice to the blacklist.

    What a cock!

  23. Sean

    And now to make it reappear

    If labour get re-elected, no doubt claiming a mandate of approval from the Australian people who voted for them.

    What a bucket of bollocks. Vote Greens - they can't run an economy - but at least their social policies aren't bible bashing luddite nonsense.

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