Stephen Conroy, Minister for Waffling

April 1, 2009 — 5 Comments

Stephen Conroy on SBS’s Insight: video here.

Lots of waffling.


Conroy: If an Australian website has material that is deemed to be refused classification – a number of other classifications also – they’re issued with what’s called a take-down notice – for the overseas websites at the moment all ACMA can do if they’re identified is write to the overseas server and ask them to not do it – which means nothing, in effect.

Actually, the same program had a site owner who’s site had been added to the blacklist who didn’t know his site was added to the blacklist. If they’d received a takedown notice, they would have know.

MARK NEWTON: Or it can be X-18-plus, which is legal for adults to buy and view everywhere in Australia. Or it can be R-18-plus and not behind a restricted access system. R-18-plus material is legal to view in public cinemas – any adult can walk into a cinema and see R-18-plus movies but they are prohibited content on the internet in Australia and then the most outrageous one which is also the most recent addition which came into force in January this year ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú sorry – last year – prohibited content on the internet in Australia includes material which is MA-15-plus sold for profit and not behind restricted access systems. This is material which is legal to view on free-to-air television which is prohibited on the internet.

Conroy: This is one of the great furphies that people have wanted to engage in to try and create a scare campaign about what we’re actually proposal. I on have only ever identified refused classification in terms of child porn, bestiality, rape, incest sites – those sorts of things. For adults who want to be able to watch the other material we’re not proposing to do that – we’ve never proposed to do that.

Actually, prohibited content does include what Mark Newton details, even ACMA confirms it.

STEPHEN CONROY: Refused classification and there’s a legitimate debate – I think Mark wants to have a debate about what – there are different categories within refused classification. There are always marginal issues about some material, whether it falls in or falls out.

Actually, no there’s not. RC is still RC, even if there is different criteria in getting to the point, unless Conroy is proposing new RC sub-categories.

Here’s where it gets interesting: Conroy claims that the Blacklist won’t be used in the censorship regime

FIONA PATTEN: Currently, currently it says X-rated material, R-rated without age verification, anything that’s refused classification. So, I mean, I’m very pleased to hear that X-rated will no longer be on the black list. It’s currently on it. Certainly there are – I mean, I have members who have sites who are currently on the black list. Again, they didn’t know that they were on the black list until it was leaked. And it hasn’t ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú

STEPHEN CONROY: This is the – people, again, keep confusing between what we’re proposing and what is on the existing black list. These were categories created by the former government and they are the current law.

or maybe not?

FIONA PATTEN: We’ve actually never heard that existing black list prohibited content and was going to change, that you were actually going to relax that. This is the first I’ve heard that this list is going to – the proposal is going to be very different from the existing black list that we have of ISPs.

JENNY BROCKIE: And is that right? Can you clarify that ?¢‚Ǩ‚Äú that your proposal would not be like that black list.

STEPHEN CONROY: Look, as I said, the existing black list was passed by the Parliament. Now the Senate has 39 votes. The Liberal Party introduced this and they’ve got 37 and Steve Fielding is elected Family First Senator and he’s got strong views in this area. That’s 38. You cannot repeal this. Even if the Labor Party decided it wanted to try and change this, it actually won’t pass the Senate.

So the blacklist, which is currently law, can’t be overturned. But wasn’t Conroy not using it???

Previously: “It is possible to support a blacklist and support free speech.”

Also the trail of filtering…uses the blacklist. See Optus here.

Deny deny deny

MARK NEWTON: We’re getting away just for a moment from the fact that you also voted in favour of those changes – it’s a bit rich to disclaim them now. The existing definition of refused classification doesn’t only contain all of this extreme pornography stuff that we have spent most of the night talking about so far – the existing ACMA list also includes – because it was refused classification and you know this because you testified in the Senate about it – it also includes an anti-abortion website and it also include the peaceful kill.

STEPHEN CONROY: That’s not correct, Mark.

But it did. We know it did. Conroy and ACMA have admitted that a page on the site was blocked.

Waffle waffle waffle