With the beginning of a new Prime Ministership, there has been speculation in the blogosphere that one of the Rudd Government’s family-friendly policy initiatives, mandatory ISP filtering, would face the chop.

But new Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced that she is supportive of the Government’s prior plan to require all Internet Service Providers to filter a list of Refused Classification content, which includes child sex abuse material, bestiality and rape porn.

Ms Gillard explained on ABC radio in Darwin yesterday that she understood public concerns over the scheme but that Communications Minister Senator Conroy was working to find suitable resolutions. Reportedly the Minister is still consulting with ISPs on how to increase accountability and transparency for the RC content list.

Legislation to establish the mandatory filtering scheme will be introduced into Parliament once consultations have concluded, but this is unlikely to be prior to an expected August-October federal election. The opposition is yet to formalise its position on the mandatory filter.

ACL welcomes the new Prime Minister’s commitment to the Government’s cyber-safety policy – which was a key election pledge in 2007 - and its determination to begin applying the same community standards, reflected in our classification system, to the internet in line with books and film.

ACL believes that Ms Gillard’s expressed concern regarding “technical concerns about internet speed” have already been allayed by the most recent round of filtering trials.

In fact, critics of ISP filtering stopped using this argument more than a year ago when the trials showed that any change in speed would be less than the blink of an eye.

ACL’s on-line campaign to clean up the net is called ‘Keep IT Clean’ at http://www.makeastand.org.au/campaign/index.stw?campaign_id=21. Whilst there, please use the ‘pollie mail’ tool to send a message to your local MP urging him or her to support the Government’s on-going commitment to the filtering policy.

To read more about the issue, especially Ms Gillard’s must recent comments, please click the links here and here.