The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) described as incomprehensible Joe Hockey’s announcement that the Coalition would do away with ISP level filtering of the internet.

“This announcement is incomprehensible on a number of levels”, said Mr Wallace. “Firstly to say it doesn’t work is to deny the trials that show it does. Secondly to have a system that orders takedown notices for Australian sites carrying Refused Classification (RC) material, but allow it to come in unhindered from overseas sites is simply illogical. And finally to imply that parents rather than the ISPs are best equipped to manage the technology by presumably introducing the discredited Net Nanny system, again simply defies technological reality.”

Mr Wallace said the anti-filter proponents have run a well funded scare campaign on the issue, beginning with claims it would slow down the internet by up to 87%, only to be proven it was less than 1/70th of the blink of an eye, and conspiracy theories that saw us all becoming like China and North Korea.

“On every level arguments against ISP level blocking of RC material have been disproved or shown to be illogical,” said Mr Wallace. “Even the much publicised statement by the US Ambassador that he was against it because he wanted to see the internet free “as the oceans have to be free”, conveniently overlooked the fact that the US blocks drugs been brought by boat from Central America to the US because of their harm to US society. ISP level filtering does the same with harmful internet product, and offends the freedom of the internet no more than the US does that of the sea in drug control,” he said.

Important to understand in the Government’s plan is that ISP filtering is only part of the solution to the problem of RC material on the internet, that it includes in particular additional funding of police efforts to intercept illegal peer to peer material and find the perpetrators of it.

“The Govt is absolutely right to retain its resolve on this issue,” said Mr Wallace, “and it is extremely disappointing to see the Coalition adopt a policy that, as the civil libertarians behind it intend, will establish a principle where this medium is beyond regulation – quite unlike the supposedly free seas.”

Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan on 0408 875 979.