Dear People Of Australia: If You Don't Want Widespread Gov't Censorship Of The Internet, Speak Up Now

from the make-yourself-heard dept

We recently wrote about the latest in a long series of attempts by the government in Australia to massively censor the internet, creating its own "Great Wall" blacklist, like China. However, as Andrew Djemal alerts us, despite lots of complaints about this online, it appears that people in Australia are not speaking up in the official forums provided for public comment on this matter:
If you've ever wondered why government and legislators so routinely ignore the numerous protestations and objections made by gamers and those against internet filtering, you'd be well advised to look at the Australian Law Reform Commission's (ALRC) list of public submissions. The Issues Paper has been published since May 20 and as yet only 80 public submissions have been made - 80 per cent of them from people who believe in government intervention for the sake of child protection.
As the report notes, if people don't speak up in the right places, it shouldn't be any wonder that politicians ignore them. The ALRC is reminding people that if they want to submit comments, they need to do so by July 15th. So, to all the folks in Australia who are complaining about these actions online, now would be a good time to move your complaints from random other places on the internet, and put them where it matters right now.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anthony, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 4:35am

    No filter

    Chances are we'll never see the filter. The party in power is the left-wing party but until July 1st needed a Christian fundamentalist nutjob(who wanted a G-rated Internet) to get anything through the senate. The nutjob is gone now, and there are no other religious wackos that hold key votes. It's likely they only supported the filter to try and appease him, which is why they've done nothing but talk for a few years without trying to introduce it. And even if they did try, they're 0% chance of getting it through the senate now that a very left-wing party that campaigned for less censorship holds the key votes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    ausbushman, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 4:49am

    Re: No filter

    The left wing party (Australian Labour Party) that you speak of did in fact campaign - for lack of a better word - quite hard for the filter, not against. You may be thinking the Greens, who are the biggest minority party and don't have much power at all.

    There's also a lot of Christian groups pushing the Government for a filter, and these groups have considerable power in votes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    a person, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 4:50am

    Don't tase me, bro!

    As baffling as it might be, censorship being bad isn't often understood by governments, in fact, they often see the opposite. I don't know what happens in the mind of man when he has power on the brain, but it's clearly some whacked out stuff. It isn't uncommon that those opposing something are silence by the holders of the idea through various nefarious means. When I think of a man walking up to a powerful crowd of men, half of which are armed and fierce body guards, and the man intends to put that crowd into place with his words (similar words that have failed previously). I imagine that maybe, that man might become a little detoured to sacrifice his well being. A slew of ideas come into mind to overcome this problem. Form a posse that is strictly for the purpose of defiling the idea of the powerful crowd maybe? Well, some people might brand you a terrorist.
    Have you ever seen a clip that involves a man asking well thought, well intending questions to a US politician (john kerry)? The guy did exactly what this article is suggesting a man should consider doing when something he disagrees with is going on. The guy got the crap kicked out of him.
    Countless times a man have come to the group of powerful men with protest and honest words of disagreement and well thought out reasons as to why this or that should not come to be. -Very- often do the words fall on deaf and uninterested ears. I am betting that someone has written a letter and called him or her about this issue, but we all know that generally, the governments of this world do whatever it wants. With that statement, I am brought to the most clear and absolutely obvious solution to the problem that so many are faced with.
    Many many governments of planet Earth are incredibly corrupt, broken, and repressive. There is only one solution to those kinds of groups, and it does not involve 'speaking up in the official forums provided for public comment on [any] matter'. Take action, forget the words.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 4:50am

    Re: No filter

    Agreed. She'll be right, mate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anthony, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 5:06am

    Re: Re: No filter

    I didn't say Labor campaigned against the filter. I said the very-left wing party (ie. Greens) did. The Greens now hold the key votes.

    The Christian groups have no senate members. Labor + Greens can. Staunch Christians will never vote for Labor anyway.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Andrew, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 5:39am

    Change ya DNS

    Here is the kicker !!! if ya change ya DNS (setting in ya network) provider to say opendns or google dns, ya bypass the filter completely never getting logged or filtered.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 5:47am

    Re: Don't tase me, bro!

    harken unto this man, for his is the power of truth. all ye men who quail beneath the boot of tyranny, the yoke of oppression, and the cloak of fear, RISE UP! RISE UP I say! let the men who hold the whips feel now the crack upon THEIR backs! let them feel helplessness as they sit in a 6x6 room surronded by evil men with automatic projctile weapons! let us take upon ouselves 1/3 of all THEY produce! no man shall be serf to the landed gentry! let us allow them only the barest of rights, make them fear as we slowly tak what little they have.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 5:55am

    Re: Re: No filter

    To me reading his posts it looks like he's saying that the very-left wing party is the one that campaigned for less censorship. The very-left wing party is the Greens. Whilst they're a minor party they have plenty of power now. They have 7 senate seats and hold the balance of power by themselves. Before July 1, it was a mixture of parties + independents that held the balance of power. Now just the Greens - can pass or block any legislation that Labor puts forward.

    The minister for communications Conroy probably supports the filter, but it's definitely not something the party itself wants. If they did they would have tried to put it through parliament before July 2008 (when it almost definitely would have passed through the senate) or between July 2008-2011 before the new senate came in (when it probably wouldn't have but much more likely than it is now July 1st has passed and we have the new senate). They've put so many things through parliament in that period, including things they just announced and things that were never going to pass (ETS for example) so it's clear as day they don't want the filter and only wanted the support of Fielding from Family First (you know the party that thinks legalising gay marriage is the same as legalising child abuse - and whose candidates have said "Victorians bushfires are punishment from God for Victoria legalising abortion")

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    jimbo, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 6:16am

    there is about as much chance of this being stopped as there is of countries taking notice of the human rights aspect of the 3 strikes laws. most people are unaware of this type of thing because it gets no where near the same amount of publicity as the entertainment industries give to it's cause. when there is any mention, most people just think it wont affect them; until it's too late, that is!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. icon
    Chargone (profile), Jul 7th, 2011 @ 6:47am

    Re: Re: Don't tase me, bro!

    i want to be amused by this comment and outraged by it at the same time... and i can't quite pin down Why. (well, not in my current sleep deprived state anyway)

    good points... while mocking valid points... or something?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. icon
    Chargone (profile), Jul 7th, 2011 @ 6:50am


    not to mention many people have got so used to having governments that fail utterly to represent them that they conclude, on some level, that they pay taxes as, essentially, the cost of services, and that legislation is utterly irrelevant to how they live their lives.

    a lot of people who would be in a position to oppose things like this are probably of the mindset of 'well, nothing i say's going to be taken seriously because i don't have the resources to back it up, and given that i can simply bypass the whole thing it's not worth the effort to bother trying'

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 7:37am

    "only 80 public submissions have been made"

    First, never take gov't statements as true.

    2nd, gov't "input" lines are sheerly PR to make people think that they /can/ affect outcome. But this is on rails, regardless of public opinion. So your last assertion, that it "matters" to complain on the gov't site, is worse than optimistic.

    3rd, simply blocking open DNS servers too defeats the current remaining loophole. I predict they'll think of that soon enough; it may be left open for now just to see who's savvy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 8:00am

    Hmm, I put in a submission for this a while back: found the first 10 or 12 questions quite cryptic/hard to read between the lines (I'm only educated to understand numbers and code! ;) )

    Be great if someone (Mike?) could provide some insight into what the ALRC is thinking about with those questions...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 8:07am


    Yep, those inhuman three strikes laws. Look, for all you people that say this or that violates human rights, human rights are determined by humans. If the majority of humans hold that giving you three strikes before putting you away for life is humane, then it is humane. I think life in prison is inhumane and that everybody who gets a sentence that would keep them in jail for the rest of their life, like 20 years in jail for an 80 year old, then that person should just be executed instead. If you are 40 and get a 60 year term, terminate. It's just inhumane to keep someone locked away in a cell for all those years. It's also inhumane to release repeated life time criminals back into the public.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. icon
    Gwiz (profile), Jul 7th, 2011 @ 8:20am

    Re: Re:

    Look, for all you people that say this or that violates human rights, human rights are determined by humans.

    This is true. Unfortunately, these three strike laws are not being pushed into existence by the consensus of the public, but by a relatively small minority of legacy businesses with huge lobbying resources.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Dan Stevens, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 9:23am

    I'm not advocating that citizens do not respond to government legislation via the means of comment they provide. However, if the government are aware that its citizens are complaining against legislation through other means they should act on that! To ignore opinion simply because it does not occur through the 'official channel' would, in my opinion, be discriminatory. While it may be difficult for government to look at all channels its citizens use, at the same time, governments should not assume that because no one responded against its legislation through the official channel it is somehow representative. I get the impression they're simply looking for an excuse in order to get away with pursuing their own interest.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 5:16pm

    Thanks Mike, submitted my comment and pushed your article to the OCAU news feed.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. identicon
    Mr Big Content, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 6:17pm

    This Is A Job For Alligator Aberdeen

    What is that Peter Hagon guy doing nowadays? He should just step up and kick the politicians’ arses.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19. identicon
    quertz, Jul 7th, 2011 @ 11:30pm


    The problem, Dan, is that enough people are using the correct channels, they're just not the same people who oppose internet censorship.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20. icon
    James (profile), Jul 13th, 2011 @ 7:57pm


    Wondering if anyone...Mike? :)...can provide some kind of template/base for one of these submissions?

    Like it was said earlier, the questions can be quite difficult to decipher, and I would like to get a submission in by the due date.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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