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Censorship Government The Internet News

National Censorship Plan Offensive, Says Aussie Shadow Minister 116

Posted by timothy
from the shadow-minister-is-such-a-cool-title dept.
downundarob writes "Senator Nick Minchin, the Australian Shadow Minister for broadband, communications and the digital economy, has written (or more likely a staffer has written) this interesting article on the Australian Federal Government's continued zeal to enforce ISP-level filtering in Australia. In the article he posits that 'Underlying the Rudd Government's plan to screen the internet is an offensive message: that parents cannot be trusted to mind their children online.' Meanwhile, we wait for filtering trials to start, trials that have been delayed and which have next-to-no support among the industry. Telstra BigPond — Australia's largest ISP — has refused to take part, comparing internet filtering to 'like trying to boil the ocean.' The third largest, iiNet, is prepared to participate to highlight flaws."
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National Censorship Plan Offensive, Says Aussie Shadow Minister

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  • Of course he does (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 25, 2009 @02:35AM (#26596147)

    he's an opposition minister. It's the job of the opposition to bitch and whine and pretend they would be any better if they were in office.

    CF Obama, Barack

  • Re:Censorship (Score:3, Informative)

    by laptop006 (37721) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @03:47AM (#26596395) Homepage Journal

    What trial? It hasn't happened.

    *NO* general ISP has put it in place. I know, I work with several of them, and filled in the papers for my own employer (who does filtering for schools which is why I don't have a problem their).

  • Re:Shadow Minister (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 25, 2009 @03:50AM (#26596407)

    As an Australian, its a laughable story, particularly given that the then (1999) Communication's Minister, and orchestrator of this mess, Senator Richard Alston, came from the same Liberal Party that is currently complaining about it from the opposition.

    A high level history is available via the Electronic Frontiers Australia [efa.org.au] site.

    If you look deeper, however, the joke is ironic because the Liberals only introduced the Bill to buy Independant, Senator Brian Harradine's, vote on the GST Tax Bill that they were so desperate to push. The sting in the tail being that Harradine voted against both the GST and Internet Censorship Bills because he felt that the Censorship Bill was too soft.

    See the Report to members for Annual General Meeting 1999 [efa.org.au];

    This was the year that the Federal Government sacrificed the future of Australian e-commerce and its reputation as an Internet early-adopter by attempting to censor the Internet from the bunkers in Canberra. The Broadcasting Services (Online Services) Act 1999 was a transparent inducement to Senator Brian Harradine to pass the Government's GST and Telstra legislation, the Government feigning a sudden interest in "adult" material online. It failed to achieve its political purpose - Harradine voted against both bills, and milder legislation later passed with the support of the Australian Democrats. However, the Government, and Senator Richard Alston in particular, were so captured by their own rhetoric that the censorship bill proceeded into law as an exercise in political muscle. Last-minute amendments urged on the Government by the Internet Industry Association have made an unworkable law even more uncertain, arbitrary and unfit for its stated purpose of protecting children from unsuitable material.

    Australian's let us rejoice ..

  • Re:Shadow Government (Score:5, Informative)

    by !coward (168942) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @04:22AM (#26596519)

    Umm.. at the risk of hearing a *woosh* in the next few seconds, I don't think "shadow" (in this context) means what you think it means.

    Whenever you hear something like "the shadow minister for foreign affairs", they're referring to the guy (or gal) in the major opposition party who is their current "authority" in the field (in my example, foreign affairs), or at the most, in some cases, the person who's currently in line for that office should the opposition win the next general elections (or equivalent) and form government.

    This is not some lower-level, deputy-minister/under-secretary type, who actually works for/in the government that's proposing this bill.

    In other words, we're talking about the people who are trying to oust the current government, so it's no surprise that they take whatever opportunity they get to snipe at them. Besides, as others have pointed out above, they're not exactly squeaky-clean in this matter either, having proposed something similar in the past when they were in office (what's worse, they were allegedly doing it as some sort of a back-room deal to advance some other bill).

    Other than that, couldn't agree more! :)

  • Re:Shadow Minister (Score:5, Informative)

    by TapeCutter (624760) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @06:23AM (#26596903) Journal
    Bloody oath! Now it's Labor turn to suck up to an independent nutjob [wikipedia.org] who gained 2% of the popular vote but potentially holds the balance of power in the senate. The irony is that both major parties helped him defeat the green candidate who would otherwise have easily won the seat.

    Thankfully my prediction that this BS will continue to go nowhere seems to be panning out - it's like the two major parties have agreed to an endless and distracting debate that does little except keep the moralising minority busy.
  • Re:So... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dan541 (1032000) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @06:34AM (#26596947) Homepage

    The current plan goes against every value that our society is built upon.

  • Re:Shadow Government (Score:2, Informative)

    by Cinnaman (954100) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @06:54AM (#26597013)

    Or a simpler way of putting it is that the opposition party forms their own "cabinet" that mirrors the real portfolios (eg Environment Minister, Treasurer).
    A way of saying "if we were in power right now this is who would be Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy", in Nick Minchin's example.

  • Re:Shadow Minister (Score:3, Informative)

    by grim-one (1312413) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @07:27AM (#26597119)
    A shadow minister is a member of the opposition (the party that didn't win in our two-party system) who follows the actions of the elected minister (from the party that won). Generally they just criticise everything the actual minister does to try and make them look bad.
  • Re:So... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Merusdraconis (730732) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @07:30AM (#26597133) Homepage

    Dude, Australia started off as a prison. It's right in line with the values Australian society was built upon: wowserism.

    To Americans: yes. This is a real name for a political philosophy.

  • Re:Shadow Minister (Score:4, Informative)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @07:34AM (#26597143) Homepage Journal

    As an American, I must say, we need to take a look at this nomenclature: Shadow Minister sounds so much cooler than Senate Minority Leader or the like.

    Under our system of government the party currently not in power runs a complete standby government. It is quite a good system because when you come to vote you already have a good idea of who will be in the important posts.

    On the down side, ministers have to be members of parliament so their skills will be more limited than in the US system where the president seems to have the power to pick people from the broader population.

  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @07:42AM (#26597167) Homepage Journal
    I don't think the term is going anywhere soon in Australia. It is pretty well entrenched. You can use a sporting analogy if you like. Player 1 takes up a position on the field. Player 2 from the other team takes up the opposite position and sticks like a shadow to player 1.
  • Re:Shadow Minister (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 25, 2009 @08:54AM (#26597419)

    Except that in practice it doesn't give you any idea, because when a new government is elected the positions are immediately reshuffled.

  • Mod parent up (Score:3, Informative)

    by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot@davidge ... k ['co.' in gap]> on Sunday January 25, 2009 @09:40AM (#26597643) Homepage
    As an Australian, I can tell you that the comment is entirely accurate and in no way trolling.
  • Re:So... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tubal-Cain (1289912) * on Sunday January 25, 2009 @12:07PM (#26598479) Journal

    Dude, Australia started off as a prison.

    So did Georgia.

  • Re:So... (Score:3, Informative)

    by mikael (484) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @02:48PM (#26599723)

    From the Merrim-Webster dictionary definition of wowser: [merriam-webster.com]

    chiefly Australian : an obtrusively puritanical person

  • by tapanitarvainen (1155821) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @03:36PM (#26600219)

    I can't believe this will ever really materialize. I'm sure some politicians exploited the issue for their own benefit, but I suspect the idea will either go away or be implemented in a symbolic, watered-down manner.

    That's basically what happened in Finland: police maintains the blacklist and supplies it to the ISPs, who may or may not use it, and even those who do, will upon complaint generally just advice their clients how it can be bypassed (changing DNS server settings).

    What's more, the list has been leaked to the public (now in wikileaks) - and it turned out some 90%+ of the sites censored aren't child porn at all (mostly just adult, especially gay porn, also some totally non-porn sites).

    But it's not going away, rather they are "trying to improve" it and at the same time some people are suggesting it should be extended to other "undesirable material" in the net, including racist sites, net poker and pirate bay...

  • Re:Shadow Minister (Score:3, Informative)

    by MadMidnightBomber (894759) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @06:18PM (#26601637)

    came from the same Liberal Party

    And please remember, when the Aussies say "Liberal" they mean "not very liberal at all".

  • by kaos07 (1113443) on Sunday January 25, 2009 @10:00PM (#26603295)
    What a rubbish post. "Rolling back of benefits"? Er no. Seniors are actually receiving thousands of dollars in cash bonus' on top of their fortnightly stipends and this is to pre-empt the conclusion in the report into pensions due for release in the next few months. As for "families having babies" you're presumably talking about the means test for the baby bonus. Prior to the means test, everyone who had a baby got a cheque for $5000 - a blatant bribe. Now, that cheque is only available for people earning less than $150,000, which frankly, is still way to high.

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