GREENS Candidate for Moreton Elissa Jenkins has expressed surprise at the number of Moreton constituents who have raised concerns with her about the Government’s proposed Internet filter and welcomes the Coalition announcement that it will not back the ALP’s proposal.

“On 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,” said Ms Jenkins.

“But the reality is that the controversial internet filter is still on track to be implemented in the Government’s next term.

“If a mandatory filtering of the Internet in Australia is the Government’s position, then there should be an open discussion in the lead up to the election about its development.

“It’s excellent news that the Coalition have finally declared their hand – it’s now up to Graham Perrett to declare his.

“What I’m hearing from constituents is that they believe that mandatory censorship of the Internet is entirely inappropriate and should be dropped.

“The 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 – after the election – the idea will be back on the table.

“I am suggesting that the public has a right to know the facts – and that the discussion be had in the lead-up to the election,” she said.

Ms Jenkins said the reality was that the Gillard Government realises that the issue is politically toxic.

“They’re not hearing from many advocates so it’s a one-sided debate – even child safety advocates are perplexed.

“If the Government’s justification for mandatory Internet censorship is truly about protecting our kids from harmful content then a list of 800 URLs isn’t going to cut it.

“Surely you would want to prevent children from seeing a much broader range of material than this?

“Unless 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,” she said.

“In the lead-up to the election is exactly the time to move the debate forward and go on the front-foot.

“If not the filter, then what Graham?

“That would be the question a true leader would be asking.

“Moreton residents are demanding answers – and only The Greens and the Coalition are giving them,” she said.

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