GREENS Candidate for Moreton Elissa Jenkins has expressed surprise at the number of Moreton constituents who have raised concerns with her about the Governmentâ€™s proposed Internet filter and welcomes the Coalition announcement that it will not back the ALPâ€™s proposal.
â€œOn July 9 Communications Minister Stephen Conroy indicated that the filter would be delayed for 12 months until a review of the “Refused Classification” category was completed in conjunction with the states,â€ said Ms Jenkins.
â€œBut the reality is that the controversial internet filter is still on track to be implemented in the Governmentâ€™s next term.
â€œIf a mandatory filtering of the Internet in Australia is the Governmentâ€™s position, then there should be an open discussion in the lead up to the election about its development.
â€œItâ€™s excellent news that the Coalition have finally declared their hand â€“ itâ€™s now up to Graham Perrett to declare his.
â€œWhat Iâ€™m hearing from constituents is that they believe that mandatory censorship of the Internet is entirely inappropriate and should be dropped.
â€œThe Government has pulled the proposal off the table because they know it has administrative, technical and political problems associated with it, but the reality is that â€“ after the election â€“ the idea will be back on the table.
â€œI am suggesting that the public has a right to know the facts â€“ and that the discussion be had in the lead-up to the election,â€ she said.
Ms Jenkins said the reality was that the Gillard Government realises that the issue is politically toxic.
â€œTheyâ€™re not hearing from many advocates so itâ€™s a one-sided debate â€“ even child safety advocates are perplexed.
â€œIf the Governmentâ€™s justification for mandatory Internet censorship is truly about protecting our kids from harmful content then a list of 800 URLs isnâ€™t going to cut it.
â€œSurely you would want to prevent children from seeing a much broader range of material than this?
â€œUnless we decide the entire net is going to be Rated G for everybody then the proper place for a filter is in a home, or a public library or a school,â€ she said.
â€œIn the lead-up to the election is exactly the time to move the debate forward and go on the front-foot.
â€œIf not the filter, then what Graham?
â€œThat would be the question a true leader would be asking.
â€œMoreton residents are demanding answers â€“ and only The Greens and the Coalition are giving them,â€ she said.