Senator Stephen Conroy

Senator Stephen Conroy - Email: senator.conroy@aph.gov.au Minister for Dept. of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate. VIC ALP Suite 1B, 494 High Street, Epping VIC 3076 (PO Box 1067, Epping MDC VIC3076) Level 4, 4 Treasury Place, Melbourne VIC 3002 03/9408 0190 1300 131 546 03/9408 0194 (fax) 03/9650 1188 03/9650 3251 (fax).

Stephen Michael Conroy (born 18 January 1963 in Ely, Cambridgeshire, England) is an Australian politician and the current Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (Preceded by the Liberal Party Howard Government Helen Coonan in the Labor Party Rudd Government. He has been an Australian Labor Party member of the Australian Senate since May 1996, representing the state of Victoria and is a member of the Labor Right.

Zoom in on Conroy

In his early life Conroy’s parents worked at an air-force base, where his mother Jean monitored radar and his father Bill was a sergeant. In December 1973 the Conroys moved to Canberra, where he attended Daramalan Catholic school. He obtained a Bachelor of Economics at the Australian National University in Canberra. His involvement in student politics was minimal, although he helped organise a rally against student fees.

Politics

After university, Conroy worked as an advisor to Ros Kelly and Barry Jones. He moved to Melbourne to pursue a political career where he met Robert Ray, and served for a time as Superannuation Officer with the Transport Workers Union and as a City of Footscray councillor.

He was appointed to the Senate in 1996 when Gareth Evans resigned to contest a seat in the Lower House. In October 1998, Conroy joined the Opposition Shadow Ministry and became Deputy Opposition Leader in the Senate. He was Shadow Minister for Trade, Corporate Governance and Financial Services from 2003 to 2004, and became Shadow Minister for Communications and Information Technology in October 2004.

Conroy is a leading member of the Labor Right and was criticised in early 2006 by members of the Socialist Left and Simon Crean for working for the replacement of several long-serving MPs with new members, including Bill Shorten, Richard Marles, Mark Dreyfus, Nathan Murphy and Matt Carrick.

After Simon Crean’s win in the Hotham pre-selection, where Conroy supported Martin Pakula for the position, Crean attacked Conroy repeatedly, calling him to resign his position as Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate.

Portfolio

Conroy is Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy in the First Rudd Ministry. In that role, he is responsible for internet censorship, the proposed National Broadband Network, and the proposed switch to digital television as a complete replacement for analogue.

Internet censorship

Conroy has faced severe criticism over his Internet censorship policies from various groups. While initially promoted as a way to block child pornography, the censorship policy has been extended to include a much broader range of material, including sites depicting drug use, crime, sex, cruelty, violence or “revolting and abhorrent phenomena” that “offend against the standards of morality”.

On 19 March 2009 it was reported that ACMA’s blacklist of banned sites had been leaked online, and had been published by Wikileaks. Conroy described the leak and publication of the blacklist as “grossly irresponsible” and that it undermined efforts to improve “cyber safety”.

Stephen Conroy had not faced an interview about the issue for at least six months, before appearing on the ABC show ‘Q&A’ on March 26 2009, and the SBS show ‘Insight’ on March 31 2009, where he defended the policy in front of critics and supporters of the policy.

In June 2009 he was named “Internet villain of the year” at the 11th annual Internet industry awards in the UK, for “individuals or organisations that have upset the Internet industry and hampered its development - those whom the industry loves to hate.”

In December 2009 “Internet pranksters” registered the domain name stephenconroy.com.au which was swiftly removed by auDA raising concerns about auDA’s political neutrality and the further potential for suppression of political speech after the proposed mandatory Internet filter is legislated.

However the site was re-registered again after the registrant provided proof of a business operating under that name.

See: http://stephenconroy.com.au

Personal life

Senator Conroy is a Catholic, and is said to be socially conservative. While he voted against the abortion drug RU486 in a conscience vote, he has claimed not to have taken a conservative position on all issues:

“I think the point I made was that while I would prefer there to be a parliamentary framework for the RU486, I think it was, debate, if the actual issue was before Parliament I would probably vote for the distribution of the pill. People often say, oh no Steve’s a conservative Catholic, but they won’t ever find on my voting record something that backs that up. I voted against the Northern Territory’s euthanasia legislation. I voted for some of the cloning debate. So I voted in, I like to consider the issues on their merits and I voted what some would characterise as conservatively and some would characterise as progressively on a number of issues.”

Conroy and his wife, Paula Benson, have a daughter born in November 2006 with the assistance of an egg donor and a surrogate mother, both friends of the Conroys. The procedures were performed in New South Wales instead of their home state Victoria, where altruistic surrogacy is banned.

He was a national volleyball representative as a teenager and has been the President of Volleyball Victoria since 2004.

See: Wikipedia

Stephen Conroys recent utterings



Conroy seems to be out of touch with the community. So much so that numerous websites have been setup to mock and parody his one man stance on internet filtering.

Eg:

See:

2010-07-12 Stephen Conroy

New Prime Minister Julia Gillard today said she understands concerns about the government’s controversial mandatory internet filtering policy, but said that Communications Minister Stephen Conroy was putting in an effort to get the policy into shape.

“Well look, I know that there is some concern here, and I believe that the minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, has been trying to work through to get a resolution,” she said in an interview with ABC Darwin’s Julia Christensen.

“We obviously want a fast internet that meets people’s needs, that’s why we’re rolling out the National Broadband… But there’s also a set of concerns about the dark side of the new technology, if I can use that expression,” she said.

“Clearly you can’t walk into a cinema in Australia and see certain things, and we shouldn’t on the internet be able to access those things either. So, Stephen Conroy is working to get this in the right shape.”

When asked if she was comfortable with the filter given people’s comparisons of Australia with China’s internet policies, Gillard said that she was happy with the “policy aim”.

“You’re not able to go to the movies and see those kinds of things. Why should you be able to see them on the internet? I think that that’s the kind of, you know, moral, ethical question at the heart of this.

“But I understand that there’s a set of technical concerns about internet speed, and also concerns that somehow this accidentally doesn’t move into taking away legitimate use of the internet.”

The comments represent the first time Gillard has commented publicly on the filter policy since winning the Labor leadership several weeks ago.

Her predecessor Kevin Rudd had publicly defended the policy several times, on one occasion noting he would not apologise for the policy.

Labor Senator Kate Lundy has previously said she believes the change in leadership could present an opportunity for the policy to change, and is lobbying the Labor caucus to insert opt-in or opt-out provisions into the filter legislation. But Communications Minister Stephen Conroy did not respond directly when asked last week whether he had spoken to Gillard about Lundy’s amendments.

See: ZDNet

My Comments

The libs started this whole thing off in 1999.. The ALP at the time played the same game the libs are playing now. Political Role reversal.. This whole thing seems to be a GAME the political masters.. (whoever they are) The so called ‘faceless ones’ are playing with the community.

There would have been a lot less legitimate opposition had the government concerned themselves with only filtering child pornography. But due to this government bundling child pornography under a wide umbrella refered to as Refused Classification. The public are of course dubious of the governments true intentions toward filtering child porn.

The so called ‘political masters’ know that the public do not want the internet filtered. But those elected to represent us ignore the public will. Seems to me the loyalty to their chosen political party consistantly puts them at odds to their electorates will. Since it matters not what major political party is elected in this regard. I do not know what to propose as a solution. Vote Independent is my best advise.

I think the best solution is to fund interpol correctly and shutdown child porn sites worldwide. And keep shutting them down as they appear. Perhaps ISP’s worldwide can/should fund this from their profits.

The politicans justify their obscene salarys by claiming to be the best people to do the job. Claiming similar positions in the public sector would attract even higher wages. The public sector wouldnt put up with the way politicians waste time and money.

Senator Conroy has wasted 3 years of public funding on this stupidity. How much longer are we going to let him waste or time and money and most importantly OUR REPUTATION in the worldwide IT community.

If you live in Victoria.. Send a real message to the faceless ones.. Put Senator Steve LAST on the ballot.

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2010-06-28 Stephen Conroy

A picture says 1000 words..

So a video will say…

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2010-03-31 Stephen Conroy

Government goes to war with Google over net censorship

See: SMH Article

The battle heats up with Senator Stephen Conroy forced to face some of his critics over the Governments plan to filter the internet.

Conroy repeated the same stance on his proposed internet filter.

SMH online poll

The SMH held an online poll.

96% against 03% for 01% undecided

Google against the filter

Quote: Google also said implementing mandatory filtering across Australia’s millions of internet users could “negatively impact user access speeds”, while filtering material from high-volume sites such as Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter “appears not to be technologically possible as it would have such a serious impact on internet access”.

Conroy squirms like a snake

Quote: Google said today it was surprised to hear Senator Conroy trying to “make this an issue about Google”.

“This is a debate about freedom of access to information for all Australians, an issue of national importance. Let’s focus on that,” Google said.

Conclusions

This is the way I see it…

Question: So why is Conroy still imposing his will against public opinion?

Answer: Because he is a Minister and can only be stopped by petitioning the Governor General. (Perhaps it’s really HRH that drives this legislation?)

Question: Why hasnt Rudd stepping in to stop this?

Answer: Because it’s in his interest to “CONTROL” the population. Using Conroy as a scapegoat. Rudd seeks to avoid responsibility with the electorate.

Question: How come the Opposition who are normally so quick to attack the Government over any and all issues so silent on this?

Answer: Because it was the Liberals who originally introduced this legislation around 1998-1999. The ALP are just tidying up the loose ends. The Liberals agree that this is a good way to “CONTROL” the population.

There may be a “large and growing group” that are opposed to this legislation. But.. We are still up the creek without a paddle because the Government is going to ignore that “large and growing group”.

It is the Party System that has bought us this trouble.

Parliament consisting of Inpedendents would NOT have bought us to this point.

We must damage the party system. We must all vote Independent. Politicians who were involved in the Party system should be shunned as the corrupters of democracy that they are.

Finally the “public will” will be honestly represented in Parliament.

FFS Australia! Wake up! Ban ALL Party Politics by only ever voting Independent!

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2010-02-16 Stephen Conroy

Email: senator.conroy@aph.gov.au

Senator Conroy.

I want you to stop wasting taxpayer dollars on your program to filter the internet.

The system you are proposing is so full of holes that I find it objectionable that you continue to push it against obvious public disapproval.

I am going to get other people, who feel the same as I do, to petition the Governor General to “bring you into line” on this issue. The “twitter” is alive with people who feel the same as I do on this issue.

It is totally unacceptable for a Government to determine what should be restricted content! (Governments cannot be trusted to act in the public will - you provide the perfect example of it..)

The public elected you to represent the majority decision. You have instead thrown your weight behind your morally destitute party politics. While attempting to hide yourself in your disguise of morals protector.

You need to let whoever cares in the labor party know that MUCH civil disobedience will be the outcome. If you continuing with the current plan to filter the internet.

I am not going to waste any more of my time with you. Many others have undoubtedly wasted their words on you.

But actions speak louder than words Mr Conroy. The civil disobedience will be historic. Your name will forever be linked to it.

Comments on 2010-02-16 Stephen Conroy

You are wasting your time emailing him - Every indication is that he doesn’t count email protests against the filter as being valid; yet another example of his contempt for, and complete lack of understanding of, the internet.

What I’m curious about is what sort of civil disobedience is possible in this case? Ideally, the ISP’s could simply turn off the internet until the law is repealed. But how could you possibly get them to agree to this (cutting off your revenue stream is not something any business takes lightly, after all).

We could petition Google to remove itself from this country, perhaps?

Does the governor general have any actual power to remove a politician (given the changes in the law since they sacked Gough)? If not, then there’s probably not much point in pestering them.

I’m honestly at a loss as to what to do, other than to try and educate as many “normal” people out there as possible as to what the filter will actually do, and what it could lead to. By “normal”, I mean ordinary people who don’t know much about computers and wouldn’t know what P2P was if it jumped up and bit them on the arse.

Did you notice that the SMH online poll had a 95% NO vote? Shame that means nothing, as Conroy just doesn’t care. Just because the majority of people think something is stupid doesn’t mean we won’t get stuck with it - My favourite example of this is the monorail in Sydney; they did a study which showed that a moving sidewalk system would cost 1/10th as much and transport 10 times as many people. The overwhelming majority of people thought the monorail was stupid. They built it anyway.

Even if we educate 95% country as to the stupidity of this filter, it won't change Conroy's mind.

Yes.. Unfortunately I totally agree with everything you have said.

The Governor General angle is nothing more than that.. As you so rightly point out. I think around mid to late 80’s HRH control over Australia was reduced considerably. HRH or the GG may have little or no control over the situation. :(

See my latest post.. I think we are up the creek without a paddle.

http://lazerzap.com/cgi-bin/wiki.pl/2010-03-31_Stephen_Conroy

As for educating the normal people.. Well.. hehehe thats why I dribble.. ;)

lazerzap. 2010-03-31 19:52 UTC.

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