Senator Scott Ludlam, communications spokesman for the Greens, today labelled the net filter as a “toxic subject” which would be swept under the carpet until the federal election. Time has seemingly run out for Labor to introduce legislation into parliament and follow due process before the final sitting.
What doesn’t help is that the Opposition has not made clear their stance on the filter which may influence an increased Greens vote. This may not be out of the question with the NSW seat of Penrith swinging a massive 25% toward the Liberals (who required 9.2% to pick up the seat) and some booths seeing the Greens coming a decisive second place behind the Liberals and ahead of Labor. Admittedly, this has probably stemmed from how poorly NSW has been run by state Labor but with the relative close vicinity of the NSW and federal elections all of these things do hold some sort of message.
If Labor were truly interested in a good filter (without looking at feasibility) then the whole process would have been far more open to the media and the public. The shroud of secrecy surrounding the filter has done nothing more than attract more attention to the topic. It’s no surprise that the filter carries the ire of the public as information is severely lacking and they have botched its handling without question. I guess pushing any further ahead at this stage would be damaging and a withdrawal of the policy would add to Labor’s ongoing policy stability and viability issues.
I think the Opposition is playing it safe by not unveiling a policy of their own to avoid comparative discussion. Having said that, topics of public debate are not rare by any means. I just want to see this filtering concept killed off as soon as possible and have unfiltered Internet access protected as a basic right. There are other methods to handle the access and distribution of improper content without the need for a filter.