The Rudd Government’s secret blacklist is unacceptable – APP demands free speech for Australians

The government’s intended secret blacklist of internet sites to be banned is reminiscent of Communist regimes rather than being part of democratic Australia with our commitment to freedom of speech. Irene Graham from the Libertus Foundation says “Secret, unaccountable, censorship is incompatible with democracy” and she is exactly right.

The government says that the aim of their new laws is to stop child pornography, but that is a smokescreen, and can in fact be handled in other ways. To our knowledge, child pornography is not legal in any country in the world, so any such sites can be taken down and the site owners can be taken to court.

It is a fact that governments often misuse legislation, misdirecting it from the purpose for which it was publicly intended. The Australian government misused its anti-terrorist legislation to stop anti-war protests, the Victorian government has enabled “anti-racist” legislation to be misused against Christian preachers, and the UK government has misused its anti-terrorist legislation to seize assets of Iceland’s banks.

Pennsylvania passed a law that forced internet providers into blocking access to certain internet sites that the government didn’t like. The secret blacklist, supposedly of porn sites, turned out to include a lot of other sites. A federal judge later struck down the law, saying that “there is an abundance of evidence that implementation of the Act has resulted in massive suppression of speech protected by the First Amendment”.

We need look no further than the Finnish government for a taste of what is to come – they have a secret blacklist which has approximately 1,700 sites on it. When computer programmer Matti Nikki found out which internet sites were on the secret blacklist, he found that the majority of blocked sites were perfectly legal.

The Liberal-Labor parties have already enacted a series of laws that are designed to make it difficult for political opposition to operate in this country – laws designed to make it difficult for minor parties to appear on voting papers, to minimise or stop electoral funding for minor parties, and to stop open discussion of Third World immigration.

With some very repressive laws already in place, we, as a people, cannot afford to allow the introduction of further laws whch are solely designed to erode our freedom of speech, adding to the government’s existing communist-style laws. It’s time we stood up for free speech!

Australian Gov’t Mandatory ISP Filtering/Censorship Plan
Irene Graham: Secret, unaccountable, censorship is incompatible with democracy
Here’s the history: before it’s rewritten
Finnish government blacklists ‘free speech’ site
Internet Censor 1.0

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