[LINK] Democrats launch anti-filtering site

Bernard Robertson-Dunn brd at iimetro.com.au
Wed May 20 12:10:24 AEST 2009

Democrats launch anti-filtering site
By Brett Winterford
20 May 2009 11:14AM

The Democrats party has launched an anti-censorship web site in the hope 
of rallying the opponents of internet filtering to its cause.

The party, founded on the basis of 'keeping the bastards honest', has 
launched a site at nointernetcensorship.com which presents its 
alternative policies on online safety and a forum for the community to 
provide their own solutions.

Australian Democrats National President Julia Melland told iTnews the 
party feels the ALP Government's approach to censorship provides "the 
illusion of safety to parents".

"Its not actually going to protect their kids, just help them feel 
protected," she said.

The Democrats want to reflect that part of the Australian demographic 
that "care(s) about children AND Internet freedom."

Melland says the party is seeking solutions that will work, solutions 
that "don't interfere with the privacy and freedoms of Australians."

"What we need is an evidence-based policy that protects children without 
costing the earth," she said.

Melland says that personally, she sees parental education as the key.

"We need tools by which parents can tailor choices they want for their 
children, not just blanket solutions," she said.

The most popular forum on the site so far (which has only attracted four 
posts) is devoted to support 'home-based filtering'. Home-based 
filtering has already been introduced in Australia as part of the Howard 
Government's voluntary NetAlert scheme.

Melland says she believes the Government has good intentions. "I don't 
think [ISP-level filtering] is a calculated move to crack down on 
political dissent," she said. "But it's open to all of that - 
Governments can change, somebody else can get behind the controls."

The party claims it will use the information submitted for forums on the 
new site, combined with input from industry experts, to form the basis 
of a cyber safety policy proposal that will become part of the 
Australian Democrats platform at the next Federal Election.

Politically, the Democrats are at a low point at present, the party's 
only representation being a single sitting member in the Upper House in 
South Australia and a Chancellor in Ballina Shire Council on the North 
Coast of New South Wales.

The first post on the anti-censorship web site is a call for supporting 
The Democrats party as it attempts to "recruit and reorganise."

"The Australian Democrats are coming back," the site reads. "We're 
rebuilding the party - not simply to "keep the bastards honest" but to 
bring balance and reason back into the policy debate."


Bernard Robertson-Dunn
Canberra Australia
brd at iimetro.com.au

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