When the Labour party (Main Aussie left-wing party) was campaigning last election (against John Howard), one of the promises made was that they'd set up a mandatory, ISP-level internet filter for the entirety of Australia - this was principally to pander to idiots and Family First, the Australian religious right party (Whereas the Liberals are the main right-wing party).
I assumed it was a bit of political opportunism that would fade away - hopefully Rudd and co. were smart enough to realise that internet filtering is not only unworkable, but it'll cause serious harm to our already crappy ISPs.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. Looks like they're still planning the net filter - and there's no opt-out.
My initial understanding of the scheme was that it'd filter out porn, etc., but you could choose to opt out and get an uncensored feed (Probably at the cost of being on some sort of "Possible kiddy fiddlers" list, but there you go). This would be annoying, stupid, damaging to freedom, and damaging to Australian ISPs, but at least it's legal to circumvent.
Alas, it now appears you've got the option of the no-porn feed, and the no-illegal-stuff feed - your internet will be censored under this scheme, no choice about it.
I'm not particularly happy about this, obviously. I voted for Labour because they won't gut the health or education systems, and appear to have a social conscience. Howard had demonstrated again and again that he shouldn't be in power. Now Labour's gone and made themselves unsuitable. Hopefully this scheme dies a horrible, horrible death, because otherwise there's no decent political party in Australia that has a hope of getting the majority. Maybe the Greens, but the best they can hope for is to be the balance of power in the senate.
The minister for Internet-related stuff is Stephen Conroy. According to this site, he can be contacted via email@example.com . Alternatively, this provides contact details for his ministerial office stuff. If you're an Australian and care whether you're internet is censored or not, I urge you to contact him.
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