#NoFilter: Coalition Make Last Minute Internet Filter Policy Blunder

The Australian National Aerobatics Team Coalition party has performed a last minute policy backflip, issuing an internet filtering policy document, then defending it, then withdrawing it, then issuing a reworded policy, all within the space of a few hours, just two days out from the election. Liberals. Wat r u doing. Liberals. Stahp.

The Coalition’s Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband Malcolm Turnbull took on Minister for Broadband, Communications, the Digital Economy and The Pixies Anthony Albanese on triple j’s Hack program last night, in a discussion that got so heated that anchor Tom Tilley had to repeatedly fade down the microphones of both politicians (an enviable ability) when he was unable to keep order between the warring men.

Turnbull (at approximately 26 minutes into the show) was defending the Coalition’s opt-out style internet filter that was outlined in a policy released late that afternoon. The Coalition’s Policy to Enhance Online Safety for Children document “proposed… [that] the filter will be contained in software installed in either people’s smartphones or modems… which can be disabled at their option. So it is not a filter that operates at the server side, at the ISP” according to Turnbull. “It’s basically the same as installing a filter on your own computer, but by making it available as a default, because a lot of people struggle technically to be able to do that… which you can switch off. But then that’s your call.”

A few hours after the program, however, Turnbull and the Liberal party backflipped on the opt-out policy, and the following statement appeared on the Coalition’s website:

“The Coalition has never supported mandatory internet filtering. Indeed, we have a long record of opposing it.

The policy which was issued today was poorly worded and incorrectly indicated that the Coalition supported an “opt out” system of internet filtering for both mobile and fixed line services. That is not our policy and never has been.

The correct position is that the Coalition will encourage mobile phone and internet service providers to make available software which parents can choose to install on their own devices to protect their children from inappropriate material.”

Turnbull tweeted madly to the same effect, but disappointingly never once used the hashtag #NoFilter

Tony Abbott, who had approved the originally released policy, defended the reversal, telling Fairfax “In this particular instance, there was a failure of quality of control… I’m sorry it was badly worded.”

Albanese later asked on Twitter “What other indefensible policies have the Coalition got hidden in their bottom drawer? , but did point out the he and his sparring partner had agreed on one thing:

Via theage.com.au