Gillard: Conroy will get filter into shape

Her predecessor Kevin Rudd publicly defended the filter several times

New Prime Minister Julia Gillard today said she understands concerns about the Government's controversial mandatory internet filtering policy, but Communications Minister Stephen Conroy was putting effort in to get the policy into shape.

Just yesterday Gillard's office ducked a series of questions about the filter policy amidst speculation her ascension to the Prime Ministership could signal a change in the policy.

But this morning the politician was less taciturn on ABC local radio in Darwin, responding to what the presenter said was "quite a few listeners who want me to ask you about the proposed internet filter -- time to get rid of it, or at least an opt-in or opt-out system".

"Well look, I know that there is some concern here, and I believe that the Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, has been trying to work through to get a resolution," Gillard said. "I think the competing tensions are we obviously want, you know, a fast internet that meets people’s needs, that’s why we’re rolling out the National Broadband [Network]."

"But there’s also a set of concerns about the dark side of the new technology, if I can use that expression, and, you know, clearly you can’t walk into a cinema in Australia and see certain things and we shouldn’t on the internet be able to access those things either. So, Stephen Conroy is working to get this in the right shape."

One listener -- named Stuart -- emailed the ABC stating that it was hard not to draw parallels between China's oppressive internet regime and the filter policy. In response, Gillard said she was "happy with the policy aim".

"The policy aim is, you know, if there are images of child abuse, child pornography, they are not legal in our cinemas. You would not be able to go to the movies and watch that, and you shouldn’t," the new Prime Minister said. "I mean, no-one should want to see that, but you’re not able to go to the movies and see those kinds of things. Why should you be able to see them on the internet? I think that that’s the kind of, you know, moral, ethical question at the heart of this."

However, Gillard noted there was a set of "technical concerns" about internet speed, and also concern that the policy could affect legitimate use of the internet. "It’s not my intention that we in any way jeopardise legitimate use of the internet, but I think all of would share repulsion for some of the things that can be accessed through the internet," she said.

The comments represent the first time Gillard has commented publicly on the filter policy since winning the Labor leadership several weeks ago.

Her predecessor Kevin Rudd had publicly defended the policy several times, on one occasion noting he would not apologise for the policy.

Labor Senator Kate Lundy has previously said she believes the change in leadership could present an opportunity for the policy to change, and is lobbying the Labor caucus to insert opt-in or opt-out provisions into the filter legislation. But Communications Minister Stephen Conroy did not respond directly when asked last week whether he had spoken to Gillard about Lundy’s amendments.

Gillard also took the chance in the radio interview to sideswipe the Opposition on the National Broadband Network policy. "We’re committed to it, obviously [Opposition Leader] Tony Abbott’s committed to taking it away," she said.

Updated: 7 July, 2pm.

Tags censorshipJulia Gillardinternet filter

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Renai LeMay

PC World




Disgusting. The worst thing about this whole debate is that there are so many more people against this then there is for it. Experts, diplomats, the general public etc. and the government is steam rolling ahead with its "we know whats best for everyone" mentality. Purely undemocratic. Authorotarian if anything!



Keep going with this idea, Gillard, and the Labor Party will not have my vote. It's an idiotic idea. It will not protect "ze cheeldren!". Put some money into actually stopping the source if that's your angle. Simply putting blinkers on the population of things you don't like is just like putting your fingers in your ears and yelling "LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU".

Bad, bad, bad, bad, BAD policy.



The sad this is that Conroy doesn't the ability (never has, never will) to get this policy into 'the right shape'...It's such a mess I'm not sure anyone could tbh.



Gillard, having been told why this is wrong, and why the majority (that actually understand it) don't want it, still thinks she knows better.

Forget about getting my vote.



The ALP stand for censorship. The internet filter is clearly the most insidious attack on basic freedom and an attempt to stifle free speech in Australia's history. Gillard has already started mouthing Conroy's tripe "Child porn shouldn't be available on the internet" in a childish attempt to stop discussion by asserting that anyone against the filter is for child porn what rubbish. If Gillard doesn't know that child porn is already illegal on the internet and is monitored by the federal police then she is an idiot and if she does then she is a charlatan. Unfortunately the libs have shown their hand on this issue but if they delare that they will scrape the filter then many votes will shift to them.



So Gillard says something everyone already knows; the aims are admirable but the means proposed to achieve it will result in a complete abject failure. Yet she's still prepared to stand by it?

Ms Gillard, you're forcing me to overlook any good things Labor's achieved and vote your party last just because of this one stupid, insideous policy.

If that's your aim, then carry on...



Yo TrueBlue, far more insidious than the Japanese invading Australia, far more insidious than terrorist attacks and subversion..? Yep, you certainly have a good understanding of childish.

Some people need to read Scott Ludlams comments from last week regarding Conroy...



Why would the government try and install something the people clearly do not want? The only reason i am not voting for labor is this mandatory filter.

Thunder Bird


I just have this funny feeling Julia Gillard is going to be another Kevin Rudd only worse in a female form.



Gee, what a surprise, not.
Thanks for reconfirming that my vote won't be going to the ALP this coming election.



"New Prime Minister Julia Gillard today said she understands concerns about the Government's controversial mandatory internet filtering policy, but Communications Minister Stephen Conroy was putting effort in to get the policy into shape."

She actually said she understand there are concerns. If she understood the concerns the policy would be dropped.

At least she has confirmed that it is a broken election promise in that it is now a policy about preventing adults from viewing certain material online (legal and illegal) rather than protecting children online. Quite a major shift worthy of the "broken promise" tag.

It's just a shame that so much money has been spend and will be spent on this policy considering that it won't even meet it's revised goals and won't stop adults or children for that matter from viewing the material the Government are proposing to secretly block.

If only this was a more mainstream issue and the Prime Ministers comments about their Board Protection debate needing to distance it's self from emotive arguments and focus on the facts would apply to this debate also, but unless she and Senator Conroy stop with the "Child Porn" this and "Child Porn" that and make it clear to the public how much of the material that is classified RC (or would fall under that category) is actually legal to own and view in most of the country the ALP is just another bunch of lying political scum.

At least, unlike the Libs, they've made their position clear. I think Abbott and co are too scared to come out and publicly support the policy which they obviously support otherwise they would have objected to it by now, or at least questioned Conroy about it in the Senate, at least once...

It's as if both majors are trying to lose the young and online vote... They're also poisoning those too young to vote before they're even old enough.

I hope it comes back to haunt them.



I think this policy has the opportunity to be The Best Thing EVER to happen to Australia.

Not that I'm hoping the policy be IMPLEMENTED, but this once and for all shows that THOSE PEOPLE (who are pushing us into this censorship scheme) have no intention of doing what's right for this country.

NOBODY who even vaguely approaches being an "expert" in this field supports this enforced censorship.

EVERYBODY clearly understands it's a political scheme to "grab control of the internet" and nothing more.

It achieves ABSOLUTELY ZERO BENEFITS to children, to adults, or to anyone with even only three functioning neurons to spark together.

This is all about "lets grab control of the internet, while PAINTING IT as if it will do more than literally ZERO to protect children".

Seriously folks, take your local elephant, paint it cute-n-fluffy and tell everyone you have a new pet cat. Run advertising campaigns to claim it is a cat. Stand up and publicly claim that anyone who thinks it isn't a cat is possibly into 'bestiality'. But it doesn't change the fact that you have AN ELEPHANT, and not a cat.

How ANYONE thinks this is going to achieve ANYTHING other than providing paedophiles with a wonderful place to hide is *beyond me*.

WHUT? NO There's NO PAEDOPHILES ON THE INTERNET! See, everywhere you look, you cannot see them, so they must not exist!

I'd LOVE to speak to Stephen Conroy and tell him that Filtering The internet is *exactly* the same as sticking BOTH fingers in your ears and screaming LALALALALAL I CAN'T HEAR YOU...... But apparently he can't hear me.



Unfortunately, from the quotes in this article, it seems that Gillard knows nothing about how the internet works. Which seems to be the main issue with this internet filter. It won't do anything to curb paedophiles, because they don't use http. It wont do anything to stop access to RC content, because most of it does not use http. Everyone can bypass the filter in less than 2 minutes by signing up to a VPN service.

It is indeed as Irun_networks states. Like sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming LALALA. It will have the same affect on making the source of the problem go away. It is obvious from every interview that Conroy knows nothing about the tech or the culture behind the internet.

We are angry about the filter, mostly because it takes away our freedom and our internet speed, but at the same time has no affect on the issues it was meant to resolve, and makes the country look like a joke.

Either we IT folks are over-erestimating the amount of technology smart voters which wont be voting labor, or the labor party are vastly under-estimating the amount of tech savy voters they will lose over this. I guess we will see in August.

Tom Riddle


I will gladly accept a connection to the National Broadband Network and I will gladly bypass the mandatory internet filter when it is introduced. It will be so easy to bypass it is of no concern to me and should not be to most Australians.

The issue is that it will cost millions of dollars to implement and will be totally innefective.



So in other words she is 100% in support of the filter and doesn't care what the people think even though they could be voting within a month.

The question that should be asked is "How will the net filter stop someone form playing around with a kid at the local park, school, church?"

And she won't have an answer for it because the filter does nothing about that.

Thunder Bird


You must forgive Julia because without Stephen Conroy's support Julia may not have ousted Kevin. So Julia is now in Stephen's debt and has become his lap (dog?) to do as he commands.



I gave up on this policy already, Labor won't have my vote. Also I have already got my VPN access aready for 8$/month. This is the price for free and unscesored internet. It will be cheaper when if the policy is implemented and heaps of VPN companies pop up in the market.



I thought that things would change for the better when K Rudd went. How wrong I was.
Same crap - Different Bucket.



Unfortunately the Liberal party has not put there decision on whether or not they will support it, Until they do the only party going against it is the greens. This will be a hard election indeed to choose.



If it was just child porn there wouldn't be so much opposition, but RC covers a lot of stuff between consenting adults as well.

Bill bigwater


you will be voted out in the next election, Gillard as long as you keep to the filter policy and the surviellance on peoples phone lines and internet you will shoot yourself in the foot and your efforts you are a currently making will go to waste. Stephen Conroy needs to be stood down he knows nothing about IT. pirate party here we come.

Bill bigwater


you will be voted out in the next election, Gillard as long as you keep to the filter policy and the surviellance on peoples phone lines and internet you will shoot yourself in the foot and your efforts you are a currently making will go to waste. Stephen Conroy needs to be stood down he knows nothing about IT. pirate party here we come.



I can just see Conroy.... I NEVER said it was going to be perfect. Let him hang himself.



So much for Gillard's "listen to the people" promise. Backs the internet filter that is vehemently apposed by the public in every single poll. Top notch. Guess I'm voting below the line, hopefully the Democrats or Greens can block this ridiculous legislation.



RC is illegal to display or make available to others in any format in Australia, and this has nothing to do with the right to personally possess some forms of RC.

Illegal to display or make available in any format.... Real easy.

That means RC access via the internet in Australia is illegal.



I love the analogy of the cinema... If a cinema was showing "RC material" would the government.

(A) Fund police to investigate, seize or close the cinema company.
(B) Build a wall in-front of the cinema and tell nobody whats behind it.
(C) Redirect the transport system with fake signs so that people cant find the cinema.

The filter option is represented by both B and C.



Which ever party keeps Conroy is basically forfeiting the next election

oh and theres facebook group for this!/group.php?gid=112469362133620

feel free to join :)

Bloody Politicians


It has nothing to do with technical concerns and I wish they'd stop construing the criticism that way. Typical politics - pretend your opponent is only complaining about how awesome your policy is. We don't want censorship, and your policy will achieve nothing good. If you don't want child porn online, arrest the people putting it online or help police overseas do so.



Just do some research on the Fabians if you want to know why Julia is rolling over and saying 'woof' to Conroy. She isn't going to take him on. She is PM, but he, Brendon O'Connor and the unions are carrying the knife that was used on Rudd. She knows she is going to get it eventually, but she at least might as well get some free travel and meals in while she can. Better sign up to those VPN's boys.



Please be careful is this issue is your vote changer, as the Liberals have not yet made a stand on the issue I suspect they will do the SAME THING. They are both do anything to keep the minority Christian groups happy.



It's disgusting if the goverment knows there are child exploitation images 'out there' and simply blacklists the site, they should be charged with aiding a crime.

Spend the money on tracking down the people responsible instead.

Labor has lost my vote.



"clearly you can’t walk into a cinema in Australia and see certain things and we shouldn’t on the internet be able to access those things either"

Well implement the filter and not only will everyone STILL be able to view those things (as child porn for the most part is NOT on publicly blockable websites) but you'll also be loosing my and many MANY other votes.

Gillard, get a REAL communications persons opinion on this, not your crap spinning Conjob ministers!

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