back to article Aussie government muffs plans for internet filtering

Plans for filtering of all internet content in Australia could well backfire on the Labour Government, with talk of "socialism" banned, and muffins off the menu entirely. On a more serious note, the Rudd Government has finally scared a concerted anti-censorship movement into being, which could in the long run lead to a …


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  1. Jimmy Floyd

    Be warned

    "Her view is that censorship of sexual material is more often than not followed by broader political censorship."

    ...whereas in Britain we do things the other way around:

  2. Toastan Buttar

    Fruit growers against filtering

    The Lemon Party

  3. dervheid

    You owe me a new monitor...

    to replace the now tea-stained one!

    Scunthorpes, the lot of you!

    "Due to the latest financial blow, jobs may be lost."

  4. John Savard Silver badge

    Australia and Israel

    We often hear in the news that ultra-Orthodox parties hold the battle of power in the Israeli Knesset, but this is the first I've heard of conservative Christian independent politicians holding the balance of power in Australia's Parliament.

    The two major parties should get together and come up with a system of electoral reform that would ensure that the majority wins on any given political issue. One simple scheme would be to have Parliament table and discuss legislation, and the voters, say in an election every Friday, decide whether to pass it or not. Of course, you would need a Proposition 13 for that, so that bills to spend money and bills to raise taxes aren't separate.

  5. Anonymous Coward


    My company's internal message board used to remove your semen, so that if you meant to post something about, say, huge advertisements, you ended up posting something about huge advertits.

    Ah, happy days.

  6. Richard

    Aren't filters wonderful?

    In my last job, our sales department nearly had to learn how to spell and roughly where places were after every internet dictionary and online map got blocked (thanks to a certain village in Austria that keeps getting its sign nicked)

  7. Andrew Moore Silver badge

    Ah censorship...

    "an Insurance company was rather surprised to find that after implementation of its in-house filtering system, direct mail campaigns to Essex, Sussex and Middlesex ceased entirely – as did communication with the inhabitants of Scunthorpe."

    and not to mention the poor inhabitants of Fuckwich and Anusbury.

  8. Lee T.

    re: The two major parties should get together

    That is _Never_ going to happen.

    both major parties have their unfair share of "religious Nutjobs", the PM is one of them.

    The balance of power in the senate (aussie federal upper house) provided that the opposition votes against a bill, is held by the greens (who usually vote with the current government, but not by the looks on this) and two independents. One of the independents (Nick Xenephon) is basically a one-issue senator - He got in on an Anti-Gambling platform. He appears to be listening to reason on this issue. The other independent, Steve Fielding, is the only representative of the "Family First" party, which is basically a bunch of Far-right Christian-fundamentalist We-know-what's-best-for-you--even -if-you-disagree nutjobs.

    He got less than 2% of the popular vote, and got in on preference deals with Labor. He is a bit of a sCunthorpe.

  9. michael


    "My company's internal message board used to remove your semen"

    you sir owe me a new keyboard

  10. RW

    And this shows what's wrong with proportional representation

    First past the post at least keeps the fringe elements (aka nutjobs) out of office.

  11. TheOtherMe
    Paris Hilton

    Silly filters

    There are some less obvious blockings by filters too, such as looking for the website for the local RSL Club in Pittwater, took the IT team ages to work out why the filter thought that particular site was unacceptable. We eventually realised that anything in Pittwater could not be looked up all because some TWAT decided to put in a filter.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    "thanks to a certain village in Austria that keeps getting its sign nicked"

    That wouldn't be 'Wank', by any chance now would it?

    Paris, 'coz she also likes certain small towns in the Austrian area of the European alps.

  13. Christoph Silver badge

    Use the standard solution

    If they filter out 'naughty' words, the standard fix is to use the names of the relevant politicians instead.

  14. Lindsay Silver badge

    That's Labor, not Labour

    Please don't suggest they're part of the labour movement.

  15. Adrian Esdaile

    List of places you won't be able to find on Google Maps



    Fuck, Austria

    Nobby's Head, Nobby's Beach et. al. (and they're even IN Australia)

    Tumble-down-Dick Hill (also in Australia, no, I'm not making this up, it's near Mona Vale.)

    Dickson (Canberra suburb)

    Killara (Expensive Sydney suburb - surely they will be banning violence.... or just sex?)

    And I presume anyone who owns a Shitsu dog won't be able to blog about it.

    And they won't be able to write about the difficulties of washing their pussy either.

    And better not have an Aunt Fanny.

    Or an Uncle Dick.

    Ok, ok, I'll get me c**t

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Follow the aussies..

    Bugger it, lets just create a party about sex.

    I wonder how many "members" it has now?

    Paris, well because she knows all about members....

  17. Tristan

    Different name, same idiots

    The state upper houses in Australia are more boringly named the "Legislative Council", not Senate. In New South Wales, the balance of power is also held by far right-wing Christian nutjobs, so the name difference is moot. Oops, this message may be filtered for containing "moot".

    I'm grabbing my coat and moving to New Zealand.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Not only government in OZ

    I tried to register with a job search site in Australia ( and it would not allow me to use my correct first name: Jaanus because: "it may contain a profanity".

  19. MarkMac


    Turn on a well-known network nannying programme's filters, and try ordering soup from Tesco online. Impossible - because they sell cock-a-leekie too.

    Funnily enough, you can fill your trolleys with breasts... fnarr, fnarr.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Thin end of the wedge...

    ...may be getting thicker sooner than you think. The Western Australian state government presently has a proposal up to give the constabulary powers of random stop and search. While ostensibly to curb the spate of late night violent attacks featuring concealed weapons ocurring in our entertainment precinct, the proposed law has no boundaries on where or why you can be searched. I continue to be puzzled at the complete lack of community airtime this proposal has received.

  21. Kevin

    Overzealous filters

    My wife's employer blindly installed a filter, did very little filtering and started dropping all incoming emails that matched "the rules". One of the words that was not allowed was "free". Which meant she never got the invitations from the Government official responsible for their funding who kept on emailing asking when my wife was "free" for a weekend. Obviously, all emails with "free" in the body were spam offerings.

    The other that we decoded by eliminating a paragraph at a time and then a line at a time and then a word at a time over the course of half a day was an email I had sent her containing the word "wonder". It had been filtered on the basis that any email with the word "won" in it was obviously spam as well.

    And she was the only person who was complaining, so the IT people ignored her. Eventually they relented and dropped all that stuff in a SPAM folder in her account but not before weeks of arguing.

  22. Trix Bronze badge

    About time

    For the Greens to actually say this is a ridiculous idea. And perhaps Labor will give up now that they might not be able to ram it through without their support (haven't done the numbers yet).

    As for the Sex Party, yeah, get back to me when they actually get someone elected.

    As for "First past the post at least keeps the fringe elements (aka nutjobs) out of office", what utter bollocks. Anne Widdicombe springs to mind (unfortunately).

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    I'm glad to see

    That the US isn't the only country infected with the religious nutjobs who are so holy that they're the best ones to determine for everyone else what they see and do. Of course, it doesn't matter that most of them are utter hypocrites; they are the privileged few who know the true interpretation of the bible. they would happily give up all your rights and freedoms if they could implement islam-styled religious courts to enforce their warped narrow view of the world.

    sick bastards

  24. Anonymous Coward

    re:And this shows what's wrong with proportional representation

    "First past the post at least keeps the fringe elements (aka nutjobs) out of office"

    Ah yes, politicians - those paragons of virtue! They wouldn't be caught in a strip-club or with a prostitute would they?

    Those "nutjobs" and "fringe elements" so derided above are the electorate. Politicians in general act the way they do to gain power, not because of their own intrinsic sense of morality. They vote that way because they think its what you want to hear. If you care so little about your "rights" that you vote for who you think will win, instead of for what you believe in, then you are beyond help.

    Yes, the Australian plan is complete madness - you don't allow government so much control over general communications channels, especially when the ostensible target of the action travels mostly over p2p, not http. Its dangerous, gesture politics. With apologies to Schneier, its "morality theater."

    Before you brand all Christians as nutjobs, remember that the Bible says Christ was offered political power and he turned it down saying that was not how he works. Those who wish to carry His name also need to remember this!

    Its really sad to see the UK, America and Australia continue down the utterly intolerant, totalitarian path embarked upon in the last 10-15 years. They have totally lost the concept of "we do not approve of, but we will permit" something. Everything "bad" has to be stamped out. Its a dangerous path I fear will continue as people feel less secure in the financial climate.

    I feel a bout of civil disobedience coming on... ahoy thar!

  25. Denise Harvey
    Thumb Down

    Bob Brown's comment

    Bob Brown is quoted in this article as saying:

    "We're very, very concerned that there's going to be a unnecessary clampdown on the internet and it has to be watched."

    How long have people been listening to political doublespeak?? What did he really say? NOTHING!

    For all we know he will just sit on his hands and watch it happen - that \'s all he is saying he will do - watch.

    maybe there was more to the comments than were quoted, but what is quoted really shouldn't give anyone hoping the laws are not passed ant hope at all.

  26. Denise Harvey

    Torpedos are a problem for many filters

    merely because of the letters between 'tor' and 's'.

    On a board I frequent we had to call them 'those long long explosive things submarines shoot at ships'.

    It's like all things politicians do for us - they know stuff-all about it, but they still know all about how to regulate it for us!

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    pr0n not target

    IMHO, the target is not sex. More likely targets are torrents and file sharing because our deeply colonial leaders always do what the $MOTHER country tells them, ie the RIAA and such like.

    Oz downloads many yank programs rather than wait 18 months for them to finally appear here.

    Since Kevin07 revealed this proposal out of the blue, it looks more like a bought and paid for policy, like most of the idiot things business buy political parties for.

    So relax, most of your pr0n is safe, but you can bet the "far right religious nuts" favourite sites will be blocked on vilification grounds soon enough.

    Aint censorship wonderful

  28. Winkypop Silver badge

    Steve Fielding, and the nut-jobs from "Family First"

    For christs sake - f**k off!

  29. Mark
    Thumb Down

    Say NO to Internet Censorship!

    This isn't just about a dictionary word filter, this is about a secret list of 10,000 or more sites blacklisted by the Australian Government.

  30. Joe M

    "the inhabitants of Scunthorpe."

    Filtering good things is one thing, but even human beings allow "bad things" through.

    Many years ago I was on a team which implemented a new networked insurance system for a large insurance broker. It had many novelties one of which was that all codes were alphabetic instead of numeric. The underwriter codes were usually just the first letters of the company name and the abreviation of the state they were in. So "Commercial Union, Queensland" became CUQLD.

    On the first live run, one fine June day, several thousand certificates were posted to all parts of the country. The folk who had insurance with Commercial Union and lived in the Northern Territory got a bit of a shock when they realised the low opinion we had of their underwriter.

    And it got past a year and a half of testing!

  31. TeeCee Gold badge

    I don't get it.

    That bit about the Insurance company. Are Svaginathorpe and Middlecoitus real places?

    I propose that to put the kybosh on this idiocy once and for all, we all start using the word "Canberra" as a convenient euphamism for sex with animals.

  32. Steve Brooks

    Nutjobs? They're all nutjobs!

    As for "First past the post at least keeps the fringe elements (aka nutjobs) out of office", what utter bollocks. Anne Widdicombe springs to mind (unfortunately).

    As does Conroy, Rudd etc, just because you are a member of a major party doesn't make you immune from being a nutjob. The problem is we know that the fringe elements are nutjobs simply because of the name of their party, its the nutjobs you elect that are hard to spot that are the problem.

  33. Dave Silver badge


    And GW Bush, Tony Blair, Adolf Hitler...

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