back to article Australian Senate censors print link to cartoon

Questions were being asked in Australia last week as to just how far the moral majority was prepared to go to protect the ordinary voter from interweb nastiness. First we had the clampdown by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) on a range of material that was not illegal, but clearly too controversial for …


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  1. Steve Roper
    Big Brother

    "premature unnecessary debate"

    If EVER you required concrete, irrefutable proof that Australia is now a totalitarian police state, NOT a democracy - even in the most imaginative sense of the word - those three words are it.

    When public debate is deemed unnecessary by any government, the last vestige of democracy has ceased to exist.

    I will be leaving this hellhole the moment my savings reach the point of allowing me to do so and set myself up in a new country - currently looking at Canada or Spain. Which should hopefully be sometime around 2012.

    Even returning to the UK is starting to look like a better option than staying here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      They won't be seeing my tourist dollars again. I prefer to go to nice places like Cuba, Myanmar and China where they're at least honest about being assholes.

    2. Doogs

      Glad I left Australia

      Trouble is I came to the UK...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Why are you still here?

        Doogs, you're more than welcome to leave

      2. Tom 35 Silver badge

        My next big trip...

        Was going to be Australia, but I've taken a big black marker to my list of places I want to visit, so next up will be Japan.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Democracy seems to have been on the retreat in the west ever since we 'won' the Cold War. Apparently it's 'outlived its usefulness'.

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge
        Black Helicopters


        "Democracy seems to have been on the retreat in the west ever since we 'won' the Cold War."

        That is a very accurate statement. And there is a good reason for it.

        Before 1990, the West had a military and intelligence sector that made a decent living out of 'the Russian Threat'.

        By 1994, they had no reason for existing, and their budgets were beginning to be cut. Then, luckily, came the attack on the World Trade Centre. That was a small group of Saudi dissidents who got lucky - there was no need for a knee-jerk reaction. But the intelligence sector saw their chance, and built it up into a new world threat. They got a whole new budget for it...

        The threat didn't really exist, so ever since then there has been a push for more and more threats to be uncovered, and more and more money to be spent in fighting international pedophiles, terrorists, computer hackers, you name it. None of these threats are real, but nobody will get any money for saying this. They will get a lot of money for setting up structures to fight them....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Repeat performance

          "The threat didn't really exist, so ever since then there has been a push for more and more threats to be uncovered, and more and more money to be spent in fighting international pedophiles, terrorists, computer hackers, you name it. None of these threats are real, but nobody will get any money for saying this. They will get a lot of money for setting up structures to fight them...."

          Actually, the people in question know from experience that the threats can be made real. The invasion of Afghanistan directly led to the murder of 52 people on 7/7 in London - the threat was made real and it remains so. Indeed, it's possible that the manufacturing of threats is the prime goal of being in Afghanistan (Iraq too, with big bonus points for the oil, of course although it's probably the other way around).

          The same thing happened with the Cold War which was largely a sham, particularly after Stalin was dead and gone. The USSR never had any serious intention of invading West Germany beyond its failed attempt to unify Berlin. Everyone on our side (for example, John Scarlett - backer of the Dodgy Dossier and rewarded for doing Campbell's bidding with a knighthood) knew the Soviet threat was totally fictional, but it was paying their rent so the farce was continued practically until the day the Soviet Union collapsed. During that time the biggest cause of tension and danger was the activities of the West who had to keep finding ways to antagonize the Soviets into behaving or talking belligerently to save face.

          If innocent people got (and continue to get) killed then so much the better - our side's killings would simply be denied and their side's splashed all over the news to maintain the Good Vs Evil fairy-story.

          Now, the same rancid organizations are doing the same dance of death with their supposed enemies. That damn rent just keeps needing paid every month.

    4. Keith T
      Big Brother

      How police and intelligence agencies will attain total control

      All the spying on people includes spying on future national political leaders.

      Eventually the police will have total control of all elected leaders through lengthy files on these leaders' adolescent web surfing habits.

    5. Mark 65 Silver badge

      @Steve Roper

      I'd choose Canada, Spain has a bit of debt floating around. Apparently.

    6. Anonymous Coward

      Well, there is only one thing for it.

      To be absolutely sure we have removed all traces of this filth, we ought to scrape out with a spoon the brain of anyone who has seen (or been told about) the printed out hard copy link that points to an image of a cartoon character thought by some not to be acting while allegedly viewing what is described to be a disgusting (but not sexual) video.

      Or just scrape out the politicians brains... (very small spoon needed)

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      2 girls 1 cup...

      I dunno why people actually have to stop other people seeing (almost?) anything.

      I think videos of people eating shit from each others arses - are sort of good in the way that seeing "real life" happen kind of broadens the mind.

      And I have seen a few shit erotica (?) videos and I am glad that I did, but (trying not to vomit).....

      As this is how the world really works, and this is life., and while it's not "harmful", in a very real and direct way, it's not a sexual act that I choose to participate in, and I do not really want to watch either...

      But then again I find it hard to watch videos of brain surgery, people getting cut up with scalpels and blood loss.

      I also find much of what is called "main stream entertainment", which is people getting shot up in gun fights hard to watch too.

      The eating shit videos, I can't watch them because I feel sick, and like vomiting etc..... but I am glad that I did see them.

      I am glad that I was able to make up my own mind as to whether I wanted to continue to watch them or not.

      AND I am not prepared to accept any government full of nutty cultists who say that dead men can fly into low earth orbit, telling me that this is obscene and I am not allowed to watch it.

  2. LaeMing Silver badge


    "premature unnecessary debate"


    "we have an election under way and don't want to distract people from voting 'correctly'"

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Even before I got to the bootnote I was thinking "how long will it be before they start censoring any documentation of the censorship process?" And there you go.

    Pretty soon you'll find that all minutes of parliamentary debate on the subject of net censorship will be heavilly censored. This is the problem with any regime which is keen on censorship, once they find they can censor one thing "in the public interest" they find they can link that to other censorship and so on ad infinitum until they can censor anything they choose "in the public interest".

    Before any brits reading this get too smug you should remember that this is exactly the direction that our last government was heading. Actually when you look at some of their responses to FOI requests I think they were already there (parliamentary expenses anyone?).

  4. frank ly Silver badge

    No degrees of separation

    " a bunch of Senators, allegedly the most sophisticated political thinkers in the land, "


    In the mind of people like this, there is no separation. Everything blends into a grey sludge that must be controlled and, ideally, prohibited.

    Soon, all a character will need to do (in print or in voice on-screen) is say "two girls, one cup" and that publication, or episode, will be banned.

    The mindset is: if you stop all references to something, then that thing itself ceases to exist. This is sympathetic magic at its most basic level and gives you an idea of how primitive their minds are.

  5. Winkypop Silver badge

    The religious Taliban

    Meet the Australian Govt.

  6. lglethal Silver badge

    I hope

    I hope the person/organisation behind the FOI request that was so disgracefully redacted take the issue to the courts. If a government agency can legally be allowed to do this then the last tenets of a democracy have been removed. I personally will stay in Germany until my country somehow manages to sort itself out...

    Im not holding my breath....

  7. Anonymous Coward

    F* You, You Will Do What I Tell You!

    Whats happened to Australian democracy? The ACMA and CON-roy's internet filter do not live in the real world and the lack of public debate on these issues is appalling. The governments censoring of %90 of the document out lining its plans for snooping Australian web surfing because they didn't want a "premature unnecessary debate" is a joke.

    With an election looming you would have thought that the opposition would be using this as a stick to beat the current government with, but no they remain eerily quite on the entire subject.

    Well that does it for me, I left Australia 10 or so years ago and there is no way I intend to return to a country which is a real shame, its not the country I left all those years ago. There are some good things to say about the EU.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      title redacted

      May I point to the use of the phrase "authorised protest" in the whole democracy village eviction fiasco... Of which, a reason for getting rid of it was trotted out as "it was an eye sore". Never mind that it is their right to protest, no matter what the subject matter is and their right to peacefully conduct it.

      How the *fuck* can you have democracy when even the concept of "authorised" and "legal" protests exist?

      Now, if they were causing criminal damage or breaking any real laws by all means arrest them. But for gathering and protesting outside of our seat of power? In a free and democratic society protesting is an essential component.

      Yet, no-one cared... if anything, the public trotted out in the media cared more about the damaged grass than they did about basic principles of democracy.

      Makes you worried about the future :(

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Didn't see that one

        but saw the Greenham Common camp. I used to show my solidarity every time I passed it. Eventually it became an eyesore, to put it diplomatically. Most of the time the police and those who direct their actions where protests are concerned are appallingly wrong but that doesn't mean the protests are indefinately right. You could argue that Greenham changed from being a protest against US nuclear-tipped cruise missiles sited on British soil, to a protest against men. It looked and sounded like it had become a squat for people with serious psychiatric issues about on a par with the winos laying in underpasses sleeping it off in a pool of piss.

        Like this response, somewhere between the two positions we strike a balance. The party responsible for the war is out and whatever the current lot think their hands are somewhat tied so the point of the village would appear to be lost, which just leaves, in the context, an eyesore.

      2. Alfred 2

        Democracy Village

        I have to say I didn't like it and it was an eyesore, but that is one of the consequences of living in a democracy. At least I thought it was.

        Now I feel worried that it has gone.

        If the Vietnam war was being fought now woule we see the marches, the rallies the protests against it? I don't think so.

        Oh well, better get ready for the visit from the thought police ....

        1. Anonymous Coward


          Remember all the protests against the Vietnam war were largely to do with all the *American* lives lost, not Vietnamese. So, no, if the Vietnam war was fought today with the USAs vastly superior war technologies we'd probably see a much lower American casualty rate and an equally lower number of protests.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      The Taliban Have Won

      We're adopting Taliban values.

      The Australian government. US Republican Party supporters, congressional Democrats. New Labour. And the Liberal Party and Conservative Parties in Canada.

      Censor what you disagree with. Censor what can cause the middle class to become politically involved.

    3. Blake St. Claire

      an election coming up?

      So vote the bastards out then.

      Hopefully you don't get " the new boss, same as the old boss."

      But if you don't vote them out then I guess the majority must like it the way it is now.

      (And this whole "tyranny of the majority" thing does indeed suck -- big time.)

  8. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    You can't even laugh at this

    The rest of the world seems to be in a race to reach the same level of oppression.

  9. John Dougald McCallum


    Welcome to The People's Republic of Australia,and I thought we here in the UK were in a "Nanny State"

  10. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Wouldn't it be simpler

    If Australia just disconnected themselves from the Internet - I can't think that the rest of the world would miss them much and then they could just go back to getting drunk seven days a week and screwing the bongs.

    Sounds like win - win to me.

  11. JaitcH

    I'm really surprised to hear that Australia ...

    is even worse than the nanny states of Europe. Where is the 'Crocodile Dundee' spirit of independence Australia was famous for. The government is making them sound like a bunch of pussy cats.

    Can't blame apathetic Oz voters as they HAVE to vote. Why do all these bloody politicians think they actually have a corner on wisdom? Who are they supposed to be 'serving'; why is it necessary to have so many secrets?

    Little wonder Cryptome and Wikipedia bother the faceless government workers so much and little wonder we need them so much.

    I took the Australian banned list and ran it through a Vietnamese broadband link and could access almost every banned link. Guess this confirms that the oppression of the West can be worse than authoritarian countries.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns

    1984 was optimistic

    Interestingly, George Orwell spoke of "telescreens".. Now replace that with the modern PC/MAC complete with built in webcams, microphones etc (and even using the built in accelerometer as a vibration/sound sensor) and you can see where this is going.

    Pretty soon you won't be able to use any hardware which isn't compliant with the latest "standards" conveniently including built-in BIOS rootkits that "phone home" and can't be altered because they are built into the motherboard as part of the chipset.

    This is already an issue, many new phones include the ability to run a low level operating system while in standby so unless you take the battery out (not an option on the latest phones) it could be recording your every move via inertial tracking and your conversations, etc (you don't really think the software takes up the whole internal memory, right?)

    Wake up people, before its too late..

    AC, not that there's any point because everything is being monitored by ECHELON...

  13. Cunningly Linguistic

    I think the rot started...

    ...when the Aussies decided to call a beer XXXX

  14. Andy Towler
    Big Brother

    It's not all bad...

    At least in Australia they can insult the church (or at least I assume they can).

    Here in Malta we can't even do that...

    Doubleplusgood icon for obvious reasons.

    1. Big-nosed Pengie


      It started when we decided to call XXXX beer.

    2. Rattus Rattus


      Yeah, you can blame the apathetic voters. Most of 'em simply vote for whatever party their parents voted for, and their parents before that. Or the "swinging voters" as they're called, who do change their minds from one election to the next, largely vote for whoever promises them the most money, or who looks good on TV (Tony Abbot's fucked, then!)

      Try to suggest that they educate themselves on the issues and they look at you like you're mad. They're sure "Today Tonight" will tell them who's the correct person to vote for. I've been doing my best to educate people in my immediate circle in the hope that they'll think a bit before casting their vote, but I can't compete with TV or "what little Tarquin did at playschool yesterday."

    3. The Fuzzy Wotnot

      Sounds like "Australian's couldn't give a XXXX.".

      Sadly I am not laughing. The other phrase that springs to mind here in the UK, "Coming soon. Watch this space!".

    4. Anonymous Coward


      ...reasoned criticism to untempered paranoia only serves to help the censors by making those fighting censorship look like lunatics to the middle-of-the-road.

      Every time someone says, "ZOMG nazi Germany echelon black helicopters new world order!" more of the public associates anyone fighting censorship with guys holing up in Montana with a stack of sawed off shotguns. It's the same with the fight against the RIAA - even this rag assumes that anyone opposed to an organization which nearly got microphones made illegal just wants to download free copies of Limp Bizkit albums, and references every opposition to the RIAA as under the auspices of 'freetards'.

      The people running the censorship racket will play dirty, and if they sense an opening to tar their opponents as paranoid lunatics, it will be very, very, very bad.

    5. Pablo

      I'm not so sure

      Arguably, apathetic voters who are forced to vote do more harm than apathetic voters who don't vote at all. When voting is voluntary, voters are self selected for being at least mildly interested in politics, which one might hope correlates at least to some small degree with being better informed politically.

    6. Adrian Esdaile
      Big Brother

      Er, that would be a NO

      "At least in Australia they can insult the church (or at least I assume they can)."

      Er, that's a big NO.

      One of the major things the FILTER is going to put an end to, seeing as both parties have their short & curlies wrapped around the probing fingers of the ultra-right wing FundaMENTAL Christian Nutjobs - Hillsong, Holy Bretheren or whatever they call themselves, the little bunch of brown-shirts.

      Posts such as this wil soon be **** ******** ** ****** **** ***!

      Shame we can't post pics - the photo of the 'discussion document' is a classic - it was released under a FOI demand, but EVERY single line in it is black - it's not just 90% of the text that is blacked, it is 90% of the paper! You can read the title, and the signature at the bottom, and THATS IT.

  15. jake Silver badge

    One wonders ...

    When was the last time "David Copperfield" was on the required reading list in Oz highschools ... and what would happen if a scholar were to compare the Oz senate to Uriah Heep?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Wonder no more. We are talking about Oz, you know that place populated with the descendants of criminals. David Copperfield was never required reading, I doubt if even Peter and Jane was either, but in the latter they could always look at the pictures and make up their own story.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    "It is not clear from the clip whether the cartoon characters are actually watching this video – or simply acting."

    Hahahaha that is awesome. It is not clear if cartoon characters are 'actually' watching a real video in an animated show in which the video is not shown. I realise the comment was tongue in cheek, I am genuinely amused.

  17. D. M
    Big Brother


    Didn't our gov learn everything from its parent - aka UK gov? Every wrong thing UK gov can do, we can do "better".

    @Andy T: don't even think about, our next PM would likely be THE "mad monk". And his party (through a party member) openly stated only "Christan" shall rule.

  18. Adam Boyt

    The Senate

    Were famously referred to by a former labour Prime Minister (Paul Keating) as "unrepresentative swill"'s the only thing I ever agreed with him about.

  19. Sarah Davis

    very appropiate

    i deliberately didn't watch the 2G1C video, looked it up on wiki instead, and from what i gather it's rather appt as the Aussie Gov really is that anal

    theirs is the one with the loo roll and breath freshener in the pocket

  20. Wombat

    The back end of somewhere

    Coming soon to you – Julia GillRudd's Australian Republic of Socialist Emirates, (ARSE) with the enthusiastic support of the red Greens.

    Because we will only be able to get to 50% of the websites, the internet here will be known as half-ARSE.

    Defunct mines, of which there will be many, will become known as Bob Brown's ARSE holes – symbols of having been well and truly screwed.

    The Green Police will wear Brown shirts (made from hair, of course), and be called ARSE-kickers. The under-cover recycle bin Police (as well as traffic cops) will be called ARSE-creepers.

    Electricity will be generated by ARSE-wind, supplemented by gas-fired power stations.

    Border control will be such that nobody will need to enter ARSE from the back any more - it will be wide open to all - after all, that's already Brown's policy.

    And after Red and Brown have finished this great country will no longer be worth a crap to live in.

    Footnote: Bob Brown, the leader of the Greens, looks like holding the balance of power. He's a radical communist and a very open homosexual.

  21. Anonymous Coward

    Just when I start to think that...

    I'd like to move from Canada I read another story of a country moving even further to the right. It's all quite frightening. It seems the governmental/corporate agenda is closing the noose.

    I didn't actually believe in the "power elite" or "governmental/corporate agenda" but it is starting to sound more real.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Homophobia okay now?

      Bob Brown is a good bloke -- I'd much rather have him hold the balance of power than hand absolute control to either Gillard or Abbot. "Offshore processing" of refugees just so they won't be able to access the most basic rights ANYBODY ELSE onshore gets? Don't get me started on how un-Australian that is! Anybody who declares themself a homophobe is also tending to the un-Australian too...

      Shame that this election is being fought by two parties who are trying to out-do each other in the bastardisation stakes.

    2. Mike T


      What's wrong with being homosexual? Or open about it? I'm neither, but I still think Brown's hot his head screwed on more than, say, Abbott, who gets his policy direction from an invisible friend.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Moving to the right

      This isn't a move to the right or left - is a move towards totalitarianism. In fact, AU is so far to the left that a move to the right would bring them more into a centrist position, with more (not less) personal freedom.

    4. Rattus Rattus

      Here's hoping

      that the Greens do end up holding the balance of power in the Senate. They and the Democrats are about the only hope Australia has of holding off the worst excesses of either the Liberals or Labor. Both the major parties are thoroughly in the grip of corporate sponsors, and ruled by their hard-right wings. I'm honestly unsure which would be the greater catastrophe for the country - for the Liberals to return to their iron rule or for Labor to continue with their policies of misinformation and secrecy.

      Just a suggestion though - if you want to hold an intelligible opinion on politics, try researching a little of the past and present policies of all the parties, as well as the their results over the history of this country. Also, try educating yourself about what any politicians (especially the Liberals) aren't saying when asked questions rather than what they do say. Finally, take off your rose-tinted glasses when looking back at the Howard years and realise what a petty tyrant he was, every bit as much as Rudd has been and compare that to Thatcher who the Brits had to suffer under for so long. The biggest difference is that the Greens were in the Senate and able to curb some of his nastiest plans, whereas Thatcher enjoyed a greater control of her government. Howard also didn't quite have the spine that Thatcher did.

      I know how I'm voting in this election - and about the only parties who will rank lower on my ballot paper than Labor or Liberal will be the nutters in Family First and Fred Niles' Christian Democrats.

      1. ElFatbob

        The greens?

        Mate, if they get the balance of power, you're well and truly ****ed.

        They're more authoritarian than the commies, just wrapped up in a nice fuzzy 'greeness'.

        Good luck.


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