Breaking: SMH has revealed how Belinda Dennett, a policy adviser for Senator Conroy, tried to ‘bully’ Internode Network Engineer Mark Newton into keeping quiet with his criticisms of the Government’s clean feed proposal.

Newton wrote on Whirlpool earlier this week that he had received personal attacks from Conroy’s office, but didn’t mention what they were.

According to SMH, Dennett wrote an email to Internet Industry Association board member Carolyn Dalton in an attempt to pressure Newton into reining in his dissent.

Asher Moses writes:

“In your capacity as a board member of the IIA I would like to express my serious concern that a IIA member would be sending out this sort of message. I have also advised [IIA chief executive] Peter Coroneos of my disappointment in this sort of irresponsible behaviour ,” the email, seen by the Herald, read.

It is understood the email was accompanied by a phone call demanding that the message be passed on to senior Internode management.

Newton said he found the bullying “outrageous” and Senator Conroy was “misusing his influence as a Commonwealth Minister to intimidate a private dissenting citizen into silencing his political views”.

A spokesman for Senator Conroy said Newton’s accusation that the Government was promoting child abuse was “disappointing and irresponsible”. He said the purpose of the email was “to establish whether Mr Newton’s views were consistent with the IIA position”.

As ‘disappointing and irresponsible’ as Senator Conroy implying Senator Scott Ludlam supported access to child pornography? Moses didn’t miss it either:

Ironically, Senator Conroy has himself accused critics of his filtering policy of supporting child pornography – including Greens Senator Scott Ludlam in Senate Estimates this week.

More on that in last night’s blog post.

Newton says their explanation is beneath contempt. He writes on WP this morning that ‘Mr Conroy, Belinda Dennett, and Tim Marshall have been reading this forum for weeks, and they know perfectly well that my opinions are just that: my opinions. It simply isn’t credible that they’d attribute my views to the IIA.’ He says Conroy is a total disgrace.

I agree. To accuse those who oppose (which must now be bordering on 21 million Australians) as being pro child pornography is not only offensive, it’s an insult to those people who have suffered at the hand of an abuser.

Hey Mr Rudd. You see all this publicity? It ain’t the good type.

Update: Read my opinion article The high price of internet filtering at ABC News Online.