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Australia Censorship Government Privacy The Internet Your Rights Online

AU Government Censors Document On Planned Web Snooping 169

MrPPS writes "The Australian Government plans to force ISPs to record and retain all citizens' communications traffic. The Sydney Morning Herald requested that the proposed policy documents be released under Freedom of Information laws. What they received was a document that was 90% censored, in order to prevent 'premature unnecessary debate.' More discussion on the Greyhat Security site. Here is the redacted document (PDF, 3.6 MB)."
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AU Government Censors Document On Planned Web Snooping

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2010 @04:43PM (#33016066)
    Having to work for you bastards, it really shouldn't be any surprise to me that you'd want to pull a dick move like this on your own citizens. I hope they vote all of your skanky asses right out of office.
    • by wildtux ( 730235 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @12:37AM (#33018818) Homepage Journal

      Having to work for you bastards, it really shouldn't be any surprise to me that you'd want to pull a dick move like this on your own citizens. I hope they vote all of your skanky asses right out of office.

      The problem is both Australian major parties are up themselves and won't know rights (only obligations) even if it bit them on the arse or hit them in the pocket! Only solution is to back the Greens in Senate in the hope of hindering such crap laws and loss of rights. We all can thank the up-themselves government types in the USA that push same agendas across treaties and the like.

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @01:02AM (#33018910) Homepage

        So what. Both major parties will rarely agree on any issue and with that the balance of power get's given to the 'currently' minor parties. Want to disrupt the two party duopoly carefully nurtured and coerced by corporate interests, than vote for the other parties.

        I was concerned about the near exact nature of both parties with regard to censoring and clamping down on the free exchange of information between adults. So I actually joined the Green Party, paid my membership dues (first time ever for any party) and that is how you shake things up. Reality is, if you want a safe internet for children, than you need to create a completely separate one for them, just like any other activity, in fact all other activities where child and adult stranger participation is completely separated.

        Rather than the fringe view the right put on the Australian Greens, I take the viewpoint that they are by far the most conservative party in Australia, careful and cautious about any decision they make, their focus is about conserving Australian families and the environment they live in. It is pretty obvious some care and caution needs to be implemented when it comes to exploiting the environment and the resources it contains, failure really can turn around and not only bite this generation on the arse but future generations as well.

      • Back the Australian Sex Party, then the Greens.
  • by kaptink ( 699820 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @04:48PM (#33016090) Homepage

    They did it to stop 'premature unnecessary debate', apparently.

    They don't want any facts or public opinion getting in the way of something they have already decided on and that serves nobody else but themselves.

    http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/no-minister-90-of-web-snoop-document-censored-to-stop--premature-unnecessary-debate-20100722-10mxo.html?rand=1279849637950 [smh.com.au]
    http://www.arnnet.com.au/article/354283/government_stifles_debate_web_browser_history_retention/ [arnnet.com.au]

    Like they were popular enough already with the manditor filter? And comming up to an election I have to ask, WTF?

    • by donaldm ( 919619 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @08:42PM (#33017764)
      Unfortunately the Labour Party (Current Federal Government) seems to be strongly influenced by people who have the attitude of "We must protect the Children" or "We know what is best for this county" or some such "Holy than thou" ideas. I would be fairly sure that the people who dream up these ideas are genuinely concerned with improving society however you cannot improve society by forcing society to adopt your point of view. This reminds me of the saying "The road to hell is paved with good intentions".

      Since the document in question is so heavily censored you really have to ask what is are the Government afraid off. After-all it not as if the document could be classified as top secret and with so much censorship the mind boggles.

      Since I am a swinging voter I will not be voting for Labour this coming Federal election the problem is I am not to keen on the opposition either.
      • Here in the United States, I happened to be listening to NPR and them talking about the National Secrets Act.

        Basically, since the '50s there has been a precedent where the government simply says 'revealing this would harm national security' and any lawsuit was thrown out.

        The original case that went before the Supreme Court and this precedent was set involved a bomber crash that killed 3 civilian contractors.

        The USAF consistently argued that revealing the accident report would harm national security. The lo

      • by microbox ( 704317 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @11:57PM (#33018658)
        Unfortunately the Labour Party (Current Federal Government) seems to be strongly influenced by people who have the attitude of "We must protect the Children" or "We know what is best for this county" or some such "Holy than thou" ideas.

        I think the labour party is doing this because of the rise of the christian right in Australia. Labour will never will votes from family first, and pandering to moral authoritarianism (a conservative platform) will alienate the labour base.

        I'm just going to consume pop-corn and laugh.
  • by MRe_nl ( 306212 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @04:48PM (#33016092)

    aka democracy.

    • This comment justifies raising the maximum score to 10!
  • The ASP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kojiro Ganryu Sasaki ( 895364 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @04:48PM (#33016096)

    The only realistic vote in Australia seems to be a vote for the Australian Sex Party.

    The other parties seem totally infested by moralism and corruption.

    • AILARTSUA (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 24, 2010 @05:08PM (#33016250)

      In Soviet Australia, every Party except the Sex Party wants to Fuck you.

    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The only realistic vote in Australia seems to be a vote for the Australian Sex Party.

      Russell Wattie (Camel) is running for a place in the Senate. He is a spokesman for the United Motorcycle Council of Queensland. He is against the anti-freedom of association laws (aka anti-biker laws), the ABCC and for a bill of rights.

      There is also the LDP ldp.org.au [slashdot.org] who might prove worthwhile and if they can get it registered, for future elections the Pirate Party Australia http://www.pirateparty.org.au/ [pirateparty.org.au]

      • So you have your own Pirate Party? Very interesting...

        Not being an australian I haven't seen much of the LDP before. What was their stance on the filtering etc. etc?

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Oops, should have checked the link: http://ldp.org.au/ [ldp.org.au] is their site. Their policy on censorship. [ldp.org.au]

          The Liberal Democratic Party supports free speech and is opposed to government censorship of books, videos, games and the internet. We:

          Oppose any non-voluntary internet filtering or censorship.
          Believe no film, book or game should ever be banned outright except in cases where its making involved the commission of a crime, such as abuse of children.
          Support legalising the sale of X-rated por

        • Well, the LDP is not our Pirate Party.

          We *do* have a Pirate Party Australia, www.pirateparty.org.au which a registered political party.
          It can not contest the 2010 elections (due to timing issues) but it exists.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The only realistic vote in Australia seems to be a vote for the Australian Sex Party.

      The other parties seem totally infested by moralism and corruption.

      I prefer the Australian Greens. They are actually both very similar on their views (letting in asylum seekers, stopping this Internet filtering scheme) and definitely has a environmental friendly approach.

    • Re:The ASP (Score:5, Interesting)

      The other parties seem totally infested by moralism and corruption.

      It's more than just the politicians. Actions like these require substantial cooperation from the civil service. I often wonder just how wide and how deep the desire for censorship runs in Australia.

      Could any Australian slashdotter provide the wider subtext which is altogether absent in these stories? What is the driving element of society that is pushing for this censorship and how much support do they have among most Australians? Is this part of a historical trend or a new development? How deeply are the Australian political, state, and legal systems affected by it?--Not to mention the corporations. Why does Australia seem to be pursuing these laws so zealously?

      • Re:The ASP (Score:5, Informative)

        by Frogbert ( 589961 ) <[frogbert] [at] [gmail.com]> on Saturday July 24, 2010 @08:22PM (#33017660)

        There are two major parties in Australia, the Labor party and a coalition between the Liberal Party and the National Party.

        Both are pretty much the same, Labor is perhaps centre left, and the other two are Centre Right. Though in American terms they would all probably be classed as far left.

        The balance of power at the moment is pretty much 45% Labor, 45% Coalition, 10% smaller parties.

        The smaller parties are Independants (Generally Centre Right), Greens (Left wing), and the Family First party (Ultra right wing).

        Essentially for any government to get anything done they need to get the Family First party onboard, and in general, Christian votes. The Family First party is pretty much a church group, all their candidates are former Pastors etc.

        So basically:
        - Christians (in South Australia) hold the swing vote.
        - Most Australians think this shit is bullshit.
        - Our opinion doesn't count.

      • I've only just moved to Australia so I can't really provide much political insight but there is interesting global context for this story in particular. That's that many other countries, including the U.S. have laws like this that are already in effect. Obviously the law wouldn't require all traffic content to be recorded, but rather IP logs to put internet traffic on similar footing to telephone calls. The police can look up who you talked to and when with a subpoena but no warrant.

        I might be wrong, I'm ba

      • Re:The ASP (Score:5, Interesting)

        by donaldm ( 919619 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:46PM (#33018110)
        While I was not born in Australia (Originally UK from Scottish and Irish parents) I have lived in Australia for over 40 years. Australian society is in general fairly easy going with the majority of people well educated and having a very good standard of living. As far as the structure of the Australian Government a good source is here [wikipedia.org].

        There is a saying "The price of liberty is eternal vigilance", well this apples to all societies but when you have politicians or lobbyists who want to shape society in a way that conforms to what they believe in and push their beliefs on society then you are going to have problems. This is not to say that these people have bad intentions however to force one's beliefs on society is IMHO very wrong.

        Since the Federal Labour party came to power it has been strongly influenced by what I would call "bible bashers" or "bible thumper's" if you like who seem to want to shape society in their own image since they seem to perceive that they know best. Basically no politician in their right mind wants to be seen as forcing rapid change so they make incremental changes coupled with sayings like "Think of the children" (lets censor the internet more) or (sigh!) "Speeding kills" (lets have more speed cameras) just to name a few.

        Australian society is not any different to any other democratic society but like any democracy, people need to be aware of issues which could in the long run affect their freedoms and vote accordingly. At least we do have that right at the moment..
      • Re:The ASP (Score:5, Interesting)

        by zuperduperman ( 1206922 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @10:44PM (#33018380)

        Australians have a very different attitude to government than Americans, and perhaps to some extent many other countries.

        By and large, they see the government as a service provider. It provides their health care, education (right through from elementary school through to university), postal service, once upon a time even the telephone network and power and water services. Basically, any exigent need that an Australian citizen feels is immediately reflected in their mind to the government as the first port of call as to who should fill it. The government is accutely attuned to this and doesn't hesitate to jump in and try to first exaggerate the need for and then propose some (usually token but sufficient to win votes) solution to the "problem". This, combined with the fact that Australia has been a peaceful democracy since inception (if you ignore Aborigines, but that is what Aussies do) has lead to an implicit trust of government that simply doesn't exist in the US.

        Now, don't get me wrong - Aussies hate the government - they are full of cynicism and basically assume that every politician is corrupt and every bureaucrat is incompetent. But they don't think they are evil. They would never even imagine that their government might persecute them or become their enemy in a war, etc. Even if they did, the government is so institutionalized in normal people's lives that it is basically pointless to worry about it. The American viewpoint seems a little bit ludicrous to most Australians - really, you want to hold onto your guns and absolute rights to free speech just in case you want to overthrow your entire government one day - like that is actually going to happen? You, with your pop gun are going to take on your nuclear armed government?

        So when the government says they want to censor or monitor the internet, most people see it no differently to if your ISP announced that as a new extra feature to protect them. You pay for virus checkers and filters on your home computer, now the government is going to do that for free - awesome! It sounds like a good idea (catch more criminals, protect children etc) and due to implicit trust they have they don't really pursue it to question whether evil things might be done as a result, and even if they do it seems like a very theoretical, abstract concept.

        • Re:The ASP (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Cimexus ( 1355033 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @01:06AM (#33018922)

          Parent is a fantastic post - someone please mod him up (I have points, but already posted in this thread).

          I'm a dual Australian and American citizen and it's completely accurate. Australians see the American mistrust of government as incredibly paranoid, verging on delusional. By and large the Australian Government, despite the odd bungle and scandal, does a pretty good job in providing the services that it does and keeping Australia's quality of life and economy the best in the developed world (only G20 nation not to go into recession due to the 'global financial crisis'). They are on our side in the end, even if some of their ideas are a bit misguided from time to time.

          OTOH though, I've seen the other side of the fence now that I live in America and have married into an American. Americans have a much better understanding of human nature when it comes to how governments can abuse their power and become 'evil', I think. Mostly as the parent says, due to their more turbulent and violent history. But I think some degree of mistrust and suspicion is a healthy thing, and the Australian people could do well to be a bit more like the Americans in that respect. Australians are incredibly apathetic about politics. Most simply don't follow politics or care one way or the other. America seems to have a higher proportion of people who are politically-interested and opinionated. Some are a bit extreme though - irrationally HATING some idea just because it has SOME degree of Government control or influence.

          Also, to remain a bit more on topic - the document referred to in TFA is an internal discussion paper. Not a law. Not a Bill. Not a draft Bill. Not even a formal proposal of any kind. Slashdot always likes to beat stuff up and make it seem much more ominous than it actually is (see also: Internet filter proposals that have zero chance of actually being enacted in their current form - politically impossible given the current and likely future Senate makeup and massive public unpopularity - it may eventually get through as an opt-in or opt-out filter, which is fine).

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Sasayaki ( 1096761 )

        Australian here- It's pretty simple really. (Disclaimer: I've posted this before, but it bears repeating)

        We have a political system where, instead of directly voting for a prime minister, we instead vote for our local representative; the party with the most seats gets to elect the prime minister. Essentially.

        The problem comes when the two main political parties own almost equal seats, but many seats are "safe" seats. Think Texas. Is a Democrat ever going to be elected in a landslide in Texas? Nah. Is a Repu

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Could any Australian slashdotter provide the wider subtext which is altogether absent in these stories

        I've read the other responses here, and there's a more specific background a lot of Australians aren't familiar with.

        As everyone is well aware, the religious right have gained some significant traction in Australian politics over the last several years. But additionally, and possibly more importantly, the religious right has to some extent become aligned with the corporate and independently wealthy right wing businesses / people. This is because various businesses in Australia are losing profits and see the

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The only realistic vote in Australia seems to be a vote for the Australian Sex Party.

      The other parties seem totally infested by moralism and corruption.

      You can't vote for a party [wikipedia.org] that has already been banned [slashdot.org] (by the Internet filters).

      Electronic Frontiers Australia, which the Australian government has labeled an extremist organization, says;

      We have to turn the age-old question back on the government: if you don't have anything to hide, then you shouldn't be worried about people having insight into the consultation.

      Of course the government has excuses for its hypocrisy; if it makes more laws then there will be more criminals, and an educated criminal is a threat to society; so the goal of the government is to try to keep people ignorant. Ignorance is Strength [wikipedia.org].

    • Re:The ASP (Score:5, Insightful)

      by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @08:54PM (#33017854) Journal
      http://www.democrats.org.au/campaigns/no_internet_censorship/ [democrats.org.au] seem to have had a clear policy from day one.
      Not many of the other parties have had such a clear policy.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Lunzo ( 1065904 )

        The Australian democrats went the way of the dodo years ago. They were a sensible, centrist party which lived up to their slogan of "keeping the bastards honest" but they're time is over. Years of very public infighting ruined it for them. It's time to move on.

  • Text Recovery? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    I wonder if this is one of those cases where someone can lift the text from behind the blacked out image, that would be some just irony: "just like how filtering wouldn't work, their censorship wouldn't work"

    • Scanned document (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Mathinker ( 909784 ) * on Saturday July 24, 2010 @05:03PM (#33016210) Journal

      It's a scanned document with physical blacking out, unlike the last few failed PDF censorship attempts in which there were merely added black objects obscuring the undeleted original text.

      Might still be able to get some information out with image processing, but I doubt we're going to get a lot. I'm off to give it a shot.

      • It will turn out to be something thrown together in an afternoon by a very junior staff member just so that it can be said to pressure groups that there is a plan. It will be full of holes, inconsistancies and possibly completly defy common sense but that won't matter since it's not designed to be read, just designed to tick a box to get the "wowser" vote from weird Pentacostals or whatever.
        It's disgusting that we have bullshit like this to get those that firmly believe in censorship to vote for the govern
    • Unfortunately it appears that they redacted text by blacking it out with permanent marker or somesuch...
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by orkysoft ( 93727 )

      Just make up whatever you want it to say. What, are they going to deny that that's what it said? Didn't think so.

  • by Mathinker ( 909784 ) * on Saturday July 24, 2010 @04:53PM (#33016130) Journal

    To prevent "premature unnecessary debate" --- gotta give them credit that at least they're not lying about their motivations, unlike using "national security" to keep ACTA negotiations secret.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Pesky democracy. Let us pass the bill, then you can debate it.

    • Ah no - the contents of a Bill once it is put before the Parliament is public knowledge. In full.

      The "premature unnecessary debate" quote has arisen because the Government hasn't even decided whether it wants to go down this route yet. It's a discussion paper, not a proposal to actually do anything. The quote is actually fairly accurate - debate arising from the content of the document WOULD be premature and unnecessary if they end up going "nah, screw this idea".

      Not that I agree with it being censored. But

      • The quote is actually fairly accurate - debate arising from the content of the document WOULD be premature and unnecessary if they end up going "nah, screw this idea".

        You, sir, are an irresponsibly optimistic MORON.

        WITHOUT the debate, the powers-that-be will rapidly storm forward with any kind of idiocy their rampantly power-obsessed delusional minds can encompass.

        Already we see where "let the government have time to think about it" leads to. The Great Internet Censorship Project is just such a madness which our government has decided to impose.

        NO DEBATE is allowed, no alternate opinion will be considered.


        • What on earth are you going on about (allcaps and childish names notwithstanding)? I'm not saying there shouldn't be debate. There should be, and plenty of it. But there's not much point in debating whether x is good or bad, until it has actually been agreed and defined what 'x' is in the first place. Governments canvas things and throw ideas around internally all the time, and if there was a full public debate on every random thing that anyone in Government ever thought of, nothing would ever get done.


  • Please publish all of your employee's internet connections from the past 3 months. This should include all connections from their family members as well.
    Once you complied, we can discuss your idea. If you don't, that plan of yours is just premature and unnecessary.

  • I hope they are sloppy as we are about redacting PDFs...

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      printed, blacked out, and scanned. Hopefully someone sends the full doc to wikileaks.

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @05:01PM (#33016204)

    If the people of Australia ever needed proof that their government now regards them as "subjects" in the most pejorative sense of the term now that they are largely unarmed and defenseless against the state, openly talking about "premature unnecessary debate" should do it.

    • Because a few handguns and assault rifles are going to work against tanks, choppers and nukes. Right.... The only time a civilian militia can defeat a modern professional army is when the modern professional army doesn't want to kill every civilian in sight - i.e., a bit of civility. Don't think for a second that the same thing is not possible in the US, because the same shit is going on right now.

      • The insurgents in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan are winning. Do you see them using tanks, choppers and nukes?

        No, they rely on small explosives and small arms.

        • Err.... can you read, or do you just post when you read specific sentences? Sort of like a pavlovian poster?

          The very next sentence says: "The only time a civilian militia can defeat a modern professional army is when the modern professional army doesn't want to kill every civilian in sight." Which is exactly what's happening in Afghanistan and Iraq. We can win in those places. We are just not barbaric enough to go all the way.

  • ... information wants to XX XXXX.
    • by md65536 ( 670240 )

      ... information wants to XX XXXX.

      I have something very important to say to that. Here goes:


  • So that's what we've reduced ourselves to, huh? Let's hope everybody acts on that assumption and does their best to put a stop to this. And quit electing these assholes! Alright?

    • by donaldm ( 919619 )
      Unfortunately many voters vote for the party not the policies that party stands on. Even though Australians are in general well educated and have a high standard of living many voters don't seem to want to be aware of anything that does not directly affect them. This is the same sort of attitude that all democratic societies have to confront and politicians are very astute in making sure that any so called packages are warped up in simple words (ie. "Think of your children") that sound reasonable to voters
  • by owlnation ( 858981 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @05:18PM (#33016304)
    For curbing "premature unnecessary debate", Australian Government, meet Barbara Streisand...
  • Disclaimer... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Anyone notice the disclaimer?

    From the document: "The paper intends only to stimulate discussion on the issues set out in it. The results of these discussions will be used to inform government consideration of these matters."

    SO how does this relate to the whole prevent 'premature unnecessary debate' thingy...

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @05:25PM (#33016336) Homepage Journal

    Can you imagine the cost of complying with 'recording all customers traffic'?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      That is why ISPs have 1GB bandwidth caps and support blocking most websites altogether.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Depends, the Defence Signals Directorate and ASIO would do this by default, fishing for words and connecting friends of friends.
      They are just very passive about it so people still feel the anonymity of the web.
      State and federal task forces do log you once they get interested.
      Your average Australian ISP would just pass cost on to users or request a federal grant.
      No more new data caps or lower prices fro a while as they pay for cheap Narus clones.
    • Unfortunately it's not impossible, and the cost carried over to the consumer would be negligible. Storage is cheap these days. ~$0.07 per GB and falling and if you just want to make a one time copy and dump it in a store room then the other overheads are small since it won't be 'hot' storage in a server somewhere. The cost of logging the entirety of my average monthly internet usage (average 20gb) is about $2 per month which represents the one time cost of the storage media, HDD tape etc.

      But what is the
      • by dkf ( 304284 )

        But what is the point in logging encrypted (ie https) traffic? Do the policy makers even know such things exist?

        Don't explain it to them or they'll simply require all e-commerce transactions to be carried out over plain, unencrypted HTTP. That would be even worse.

  • I have trouble even comprehending "record and retain all citizens' communications traffic." To think that someone would tolerate a government spying on web traffic, I mean it's not like we're talking about cell phones here.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    What possible reason is it in anyone's best interest to spend mountains of treasure to create a massive archive of every single internet transaction apart from the people who sell hard drives.

    How much electricity will be needed to run this server farm?
    Exactly what evidence is there that this archive will result in .... well, what exactly. More prosecutions? Public officials whacking off to citizens' cyber sex chat transcripts?
    What will the start up and long term fiscal costs be?
    What safeguards are t

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      I can only understand the thinking as something like this. Interpol, FBI, AFP sees a ip from Australia connected to terror or a crime related to a child in danger.
      The idea that local law enforcement have to 'wait' for a court, get paper work, contact the isp, wait, get the address and start logging, request a delayed notification warrant. Its a huge long list that this hopes to avoid.
      Your is is spotted, a trusted, vetted, trained officer enters your IP and gets to see your details in seconds for an ISP i
  • Of course they censored it.
    This falls under the realm of a threat to national security.


  • Is this a reboot I hadn't heard of?
  • by CuteSteveJobs ( 1343851 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @05:34PM (#33016396)

    We've got an election three weeks away where voters will have the opportunity to throw out Julia Gillard. Gillard is Rudd's deputy who knifed him in the back to take his job, yet was party to all his unpopular decisions. She is continuing to support the web filter (though deferred implementing it until after the election).

    In the other corner is Tony Abbott, a conservative catholic who is also pro-web filter (see earlier comments in Slashdot).

    These are the two major parties in Australia. Their policies are so similar it's hard to tell them apart. One of them will win. What sort of a choice is this?

    • by emt377 ( 610337 )

      What sort of a choice is this?

      What? We give you democracy and now you ask for choices?! What an attitude! You're not a team player!

    • Paralyse them by stacking the senate with minor parties. I plan to put liberal and labour at the bottom of the senate ticket.

    • by heathen_01 ( 1191043 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @07:13PM (#33017150)
      Insightful? There are more than 2 choices.
      • by dlanod ( 979538 )

        There may be more than two choices but one of those two will be Prime Minister, regardless how often you may repeat the simplification that there are other options. Spoken as someone who is leaning Green in the Senate as the only one with sane policies outside the environmental policy area.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Consider the views
      Vote as you like :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Joakal ( 1317443 )

      You have your choice in the upcoming election with a choice of up to 25 parties [aec.gov.au] for Senate and House of Representatives (Upper and Lower house respectively).

      There's websites like my website ShockSeat's Federal parties list [shockseat.com] that'll give you some basic information about parties. Or you can try Wiki's list of Political parties in Australia [wikipedia.org]. Or simply look up the party names, almost all of them have websites and see what they have to say.

      My last comment for those who feel demoralised at 'duopoly' of major parti

    • The ALP tactic at the moment seems to be to take the same policies as the opposition but promise to implement them as if they were sane adults that have actually worked for one or more days in their life - a keen edge over the Liberal party. It backfires when you have very bad policies like Howard's token effort at a filter being taken up by Conroy as if he really was going to implement it.
      The only way this is going to go away is after the pressure groups give up on trying to push censorship - child porn i
    • Except that only ~1% of enrolled voters can vote out a politician. Also, Julia Gillard's seat (Division of Lalor) has been held by the Labour Party since 1969, and she won in 2007 by 30000 votes.
  • by omnibit ( 1737004 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @05:35PM (#33016414)

    The current Australian government is showing some startling and disturbing trends with their disapprobation for the rights to privacy. First there was Senator Conroy's (Minister for Broadband, Communications, etc) plan to retain a secretive government register, unbeknownst to the public, that would filter websites it deemed to have no classification. Child pornography was the chief motivator but like with so many other noble beginnings, it spawned into an ugly beast - a register with the capacity to capture (and did capture as we now know) websites ill-suited to blacklisting.

    Now we have the Attorney-General seeking to deny privacy rights without public consultation. The very people who are affected the most by this policy are unable to comment due to a rather spurious argument that 'premature' debate might in some way affect the purpose of the policy.

    There is something grossly wrong with this - if you want to snoop, spy or store data of citizens, by all means - but as a Government, you must get the consent of the population and be willing to accept rejection of said proposal. Silencing or blocking comment is in direct conflict of the notion of democracy.

    Privately, I'd revile any Government where my information needs are suddenly in question. The adage 'if you don't have anything to hide, show it' fails - I should never be coerced to reveal anything about me without cause - that's privacy. Respect that.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Child pornography was the chief motivator but like with so many other noble beginnings, it spawned into an ugly beast

      If you think that the child pornography hysteria that fuelled these actions was noble, I don't see what you consider so ugly about these inevitable conclusions. Rotten causes leads to rotten effects.

  • IF this isn't just a political stunt, and actually becomes law, it would only be a matter of time before something like this [slashdot.org] happens.
  • Well that certainly fills in the blanks...
  • We have a federal election less than one month away. Unfortunately, I think it's mainly the minority of geeks and nerds which fear it and understand these plans. How do we mobilise the rest of a generally apathetic nation in 3 weeks before a federal election to rally against this?
  • It's sad, and rather scary, that the major points of *debate* in the election so far have been immigration and carbon taxes. Perhaps the 150 randoms looking after carbon taxes can do a double shift and handle the great firewall.

    Don't use so many caps. Itg's like yelkling.
    Don't use so makny caps. Irert's like yelling.
    Don'tr use so many caps. It's lire yelling.
    Your comment violated the "poste

  • Democracy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Saturday July 24, 2010 @09:01PM (#33017892) Journal

    If this wording of the answer does not enrage the majority of Australians regardless of their position on the issue, and won't affect their vote, then they do not really deserve democracy.

    It reminds me of the HST ruckus here in BC. The petition. (First step to referendum) to repeal it got widespread backing from many people of all political backgrounds, including those in favor of HST - because of the way it was pushed through.

  • by kaptink ( 699820 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @12:14AM (#33018724) Homepage

    I just saw this website which takes on these issues using a labour catchphrase - http://www.movingaustraliaforward.com/ [movingaust...orward.com]

  • by TheVelvetFlamebait ( 986083 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @04:18AM (#33019534) Journal

    I started my own premature but very necessary debate [slashdot.org] over on the corporate blocking of the Sex Party story [slashdot.org] where I mentioned that the SMH article is, in fact, very misleading, and the "premature and unnecessary debate" quote was taken completely out of context. Basically, the document was censored because it was exempt from the FOI act, and it was exempt because:

    a) It's some internal discussion amongst the party that's not even at the proposal stage. That is, it doesn't affect the public, and it's far from finalised, and
    b) In its current form, there's no guarantee that any actual proposal that comes from this will reflect the document at all. That is, actually releasing it would be misleading.

    Basically, this document didn't need to be released at all, and in certain parts, it's against the public interest to actually release it.

    I also realise that my comment I linked to above was modded down, but I'm hoping that this time around Slashdotters take their own advice, and refrain from censoring dissenting opinions.

  • What means "unnecessary debate"?

Were there fewer fools, knaves would starve. - Anonymous