Year 12 Stage 2 English


A Vote for 'Australian Labor Party' is a Vote against Freedom (by Sarah)

Australia in a communist state, why not? If the Labor Government is re-elected August 21st, we will be voting our freedoms away as the internet filtering policy gets one step further to being passed through parliament. The effects of this policy will be disastrous on the on the social, economic and technological progression of our ‘democratic’ nation. We need to consider the negative effects of this policy seriously. These include: breaching democratic rights, affecting the economy and how this bill does not serve its intended purpose. You could be the vote which prevents this attack on freedoms which would change our country for the worse.

So can we really trust our government to only filter illegal pornographic websites? Firstly, a filter cannot distinguish what the definition of pornography is in the context of art. Many sites that contain art and other such content will be inaccurately filtered. Will sites that display historical and infamous art works such as Madonna of the Rocks by Italian renaissance artist Leonardo Da Vinci. This particular art work features naked children. Will Australians be derived from appreciating this art and expression?

A test conducted by the current government, proved one in twenty sites will be inaccurately filtered. But are these sites really ‘inaccurately’ filtered, or do they contain information the Government considers incriminating? The blacklist created by the Government has been leaked on the internet. So it is almost definite that websites will be filtered without reason. Some of these sites include the widely popular Myspace and Youtube .

The Government has justified the content of the list by saying “..................”. More than coincidently, the site that leaked this list has now been added to it. The blacklist could cause more harm than it’s intended to prevent. If it continues to spread, children and others will seek it out to purposely access inappropriate sites, if they haven’t already. The government has taken measures to address this problem, such as warning that the distribution of the list can result in fines and imprisonment. But this will not deter careless children with no responsibilities.

We live in a democracy, so what happened to our freedoms? Australian’s are born with personal and democratic freedoms. The internet filter will affect freedom of speech and expression, and freedom of information. Stephen Conroy, the minister who has proposed the law, has argued “freedom of expression has its limits.” This completely contradicts the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, devised by the United Nations.

Civil liberty groups are rightfully contesting this filter, creating campaigns such as “It’s Time to Tell Mum”. This video features comedian Akmal Saleh explaining the disadvantages of internet censorship. This video convinced over 14, 000 people to ‘tell their mums’ twenty-four hours after its release . Civil liberty group, Electronic Frontiers Australia is conducting a petition which was tabled in the Senate in June, with over 19,000 protestors of the censorship.

Furthermore, one purpose of the filtering is to protect children from being exposed to inappropriate material. It should be the discretion of the parents to filter their personal internet connection. If filtering is implemented in Australia, we will be joined along with nations such as communist China as one of the few nations in the world to be controlled by an internet filter. A recent Netspace survey found that 80% of its customers disagreed with any internet filtering scheme. Surely these people are not all wanting to access child pornography, right? They are average people like you or I, who are concerned about what actually is going to be filtered and why.

This filtering will affect more than freedoms, it will affect Australia’s economy. The internet filtering scheme will cost 84 million dollars . This is because the testing proved an 83% decrease in internet speed . This is particularly worrying for dial-up users, especially those in remote areas that cannot upgrade. This will provide difficulties for the 10% of total internet subscribers in Australia . Telecommunication providers will face widespread disconnections and consequently generate less income, therefore less service.

The predicted speeds of internet after the installation of the filter will be:______ which is a ___% decrease from the average speed of ___now. Australia already has poor internet speeds compared to Europe which has an average speed of _____. Upgrades have been promised, but this is not possible when this filter will decrease speeds by 83%.

Federal Labor’s proposed internet filtering policy needs to be stopped. By not supporting this scheme we are not condoning pornography, we are rightfully contesting this discrimination, in this democracy we call home. Too many negative effects will result from this proposed policy. Just a few are; breaching our god-given democratic rights and freedoms, affecting Australia’s already unstable economy and how this bill does not serve its intended purpose of eliminating child pornography. References:

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