AUSTRALIA—Like a bad dream, Australia’s on again, off again flirtation with ISP-level censorship is once again on. Prime Minster Julia Gillard recently signaled her support for the plan, which would force internet service providers to scrub their networks of inappropriate content.
Gillard made her comments during a press conference Tuesday, characterizing it as a question of morality.
“It's unlawful and we believe it to be wrong,” she said, referring to Australian laws that outlaw the viewing of certain adult content in theaters. “If we accept that, then it seems to me that the moral question is not changed by the medium that the images come through.”
The plan has long been backed by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, who said in July that its implementation would be put on hold while a review of the refused classification (RC) process was under way.
Many people, including members of the Australian Sex Party, have long complained that secret lists of blacklisted sites that employ conflicting criteria are being maintained by the government.
“Online free speech advocate Irene Graham says not all RC material is illegal,” reported the AustralianIT.com. “According to Ms Graham, RC is a wide-ranging category of content which includes material deemed to 'offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults.’”
Despite these objections, Gillard appears determined to see the scheme through, though some of her detractors see her actions as being propelled by religious factions within her party as much as by moral imperative.
“She's being driven on this stuff by the old Catholic rump in the Labor Party,” Sex Party spokesperson Robbie Swan told AVN.