How soon they forget… fridge magnets
Thursday April 02nd 2009, 6:38 am

ACT Senator Kate LundyKate Lundy, ALP Senator for the ACT had quite a lot to say about HoWARd’s approach to internet censorship while Labor was in opposition.

3 March 2003 – Media Release
Labor Senator Kate Lundy
Internet user education the key to protection from unwanted porn

The findings contained in the Australia Institute’s report, Youth and Pornography in Australia demonstrate that the Coalition’s ‘big brother’ approach to internet censorship is not working.

The Report indicates that young people have little trouble in seeking out sexually explicit internet content in the same way that young people have had little trouble seeking out pornography in other forms of media, such as X-rated videos and magazines.

The Report’s conclusions are already well understood and accepted and have informed Labor’s approach to internet content management. This has been to point to the need for greater education to prevent internet users’ exposure to unwanted sexually explicit material.

Labor has consistently advocated that the most effective approach to reducing young people’s exposure to sexually explicit material is to ensure that parents particularly have the ability to use internet filter products and other forms of internet content management, rather than having laws that imply the internet is ‘safe’ for children.

There is a risk that some parents are being misled by the Coalition into thinking that their children are being protected by internet censorship laws when they are not.

This risk is that unsuitable content can be accessed from overseas sites – sites which cannot be regulated. This is why the best form of internet content management is in the hands of the internet users themselves.

Izzat so? How bout that.

4 March 2003 – Media Release
Labor Senator Kate Lundy
Fridge magnets will not prevent unwelcome porn

The Regulating Youth Access to Pornography report released today vindicates Labor’s criticism of the Coalition’s nonsensical approach to internet censorship.

In response to concerns raised about internet content, part of the Coalition’s solution was to establish ‘Net Alert’, which sends out a kit to concerned callers containing a fridge magnet, the usual Howard Government information campaign cop-out. In all, the annual report stated they had sent out 32,523 fridge magnets!

The Regulating Youth Access to Pornography Report found that only 17% of Australian parents with internet connections have currently installed filters. NetAlert needs to concentrate more on educating parents directly to help them control their child’s internet experience.

Labor supports the Australian Internet Society’s ( recommendation to establish a ‘user voice’. This body would provide support and advice for individual users and user organisations to increase awareness of internet technology.

Labor believes the Report’s recommendation to increase internet regulation by forcing all Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to filter all of their content is unworkable. The cost this would place on ISPs would be prohibitive, and internet speeds would be significantly reduced.

The end result for consumers would be a slower, more expensive internet.

Furthermore, while filters are an important tool for managing internet content, to suggest that ‘mass-installed’ filters represent a 100% reliable defence against objectionable internet content is misleading. The Australian Broadcasting Authority has conceded as much to a Senate Estimates Committee:

‘A common finding in relation to existing [internet filter] products has been that they are only partly effective ‘ In particular [none of the products currently available] meet users’ expectations with regard to blocking accuracy, usability and system performance.’

[Source: Senate ECITA Legislation Committee, Answer to Questions on Notice #51, 20/11/02]

Ultimately, there is no all-purpose, ‘easy fix’ to this problem. While filters are important tools, they can only ever be a part of a holistic approach that emphasises end user education.

Won’t Senator Lundy PLEASE get Senator Conjob on the phone?

Labor Senator Kate Lundy
Internet Content – parent education is the key
Senate Adjournment Speech
19 March 2003


Independent experts continue to expose flaws in filter technology. A 2001 CSIRO report found that, despite improvements in filtering technology over the years, there is no filter that is 100 per cent effective in keeping out all undesirable material without simultaneously blocking acceptable content.

Even the regulatory body responsible, the Australian Broadcasting Authority, acknowledged in relation to filter technology that none of the products currently available meet users’ expectations with regard to blocking accuracy, useability and system performance. Therefore, the suggestion that the entire Internet should be filtered is unrealistic and inappropriate.

Unfortunately, such a short memory regarding the debate in 1999 about Internet content has led the Coalition to already offer support for greater censorship by actively considering proposals for unworkable, quick fixes that involve filtering the Internet at the ISP level.

Apparently, having your party elected to government causes total amnesia regarding internet policy.

We’d better shut that whole horrid internet thing down before everyone forgets everything!

uh… what were we talking about?


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