They speak. Shadow Comm’s Minister Nick Minchin is ‘appalled’ that a Conroy staffer tried to suppress Mark Newton’s critical comments on the Government’s mandatory filtering plan.

Minchin told Computer World he’s appalled that a member of Senator Conroy’s staff is apparently trying to bully the IIA over this matter. He also says he’ll wait for the results of the live trial but the presumption is this cannot and will not work, it’s very heavy-handed.

“That association is perfectly entitled to express it alsos views and indeed it is very important that the public and the parliament understand the views of the IIA on this matter, and they shouldn’t be bullied by Senator Conroy or his staff. It is absolutely out of line and Senator Conroy should discipline that staff member,” the shadow minister for broadband said.


“When we left office it was our view that we had appropriate arrangements in place in relation to this issue of filtering. The NetAlert scheme we launched in August last year, and which is still in place, we believe strikes the right balance in terms of ensuring that Australians who want to ensure that their children are not exposed to child pornography have the information at hand, the capacity and the free software that enables them to do so,” Minchin said.


But Minchin believes the trials are already a foregone conclusion.

“We’ll watch the government’s trials of this and we are prepared to consider what comes out of those trials. But our presumption is this cannot and will not work, it’s very heavy-handed.

“Like anything in life it’s about finding the right balance between the basic freedoms we all expect to have in a democracy like ours while at the same time wanting to protect minors from exposure to material we prefer they didn’t see. We think the arrangements that we had in place when we left office struck that balance.”

Minchin’s press release sheds a little more light on his position:

Senator Minchin said the Coalition had already indicated its concern that the Government’s internet filter proposal would see responsibility shifted to Internet Service Providers.

“While we fully support guarding our children from being exposed to inappropriate internet content, parental supervision and guidance supported by readily-available content filters tailored to the needs of particular user settings is a more realistic approach.

“Labor’s ill-conceived proposal does nothing to address areas of the online world where the most predatory risks can be found and we are monitoring the progress of the live pilot trial of its Clean Feed internet filtering concept with great interest.

I can understand why Australians are concerned about the effect of the Government’s Internet censorship proposal on system performance and the manner in which a blanket arbitrary determination about web content is to be imposed by the Government.

“Targeting critics is just more evidence of Labor’s heavy-handedness”, Senator Minchin concluded.