Senator Nick Minchin has been quiet lately, but today he made up for it when he blindsided Senator Conroy in the media, demanding he end his mandatory filtering farce. It wasn’t exactly the most daring exchange of words, but it’s the response he managed to yank out of the Minister for Communications that really sheds light on how little this policy and the rhetoric surrounding it has progressed, and how deep the hole has been dug.

“Nick Minchin and the Liberal Party should explain why they don’t support using the latest technology to restrict access to child abuse content and other Refused Classification material,” Senator Conroy said this morning.SMH

It’s been nearly a whole two years since Senator Conroy took office and those who criticise the government’s plan to censor the Internet are still met with the accusation that they carelessly support child abuse. The same sort of thing we heard all the way back in December 2007. I’m certain organisations like Save the Children, who the Minister knows are vocally against the plan, would appreciate it if he didn’t make such offensive remarks. I know I would.

Accusations like these, this far into the campaign, could mean Conroy is desperately pulling at strings, but I have my doubts. He’s been crucified by the media for similar comments in the past and he isn’t a stupid man (at least not when it comes to politics).

Conroy could be preparing to back away, declaring the ISP filtering trial a failure and leaving voters with the impression he was the one who tried to protect their kids.

However, his arrogance may also suggest that mandatory filtering is so set in stone, a hard line approach is the only option. Be it to force hand in Canberra or to reap the rewards of delivering promised-policy, whatever they may be.