Opposition says Government is botching internet filter trial (ABC AM Program)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

AM - Tuesday, 24 March , 2009 08:27:00
Reporter: Sabra Lane

TONY EASTLEY: The Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy was unavailable for interview this morning. A spokeswoman says the minister had other engagements.

The Opposition's spokesman is Senator Nick Minchin. He's speaking here with Sabra Lane.

NICK MINCHIN: Michael Malone of iiNet is one of the most respected men in the internet industry. iiNet is the third largest service provider in the industry and his statement really, as I say, is a damning indictment. He talks about the constant changes in the policy, confused explanations for the purpose of the trial, difficulty in negotiating and arrangement with the department. As with the national broadband network, Senator Conroy is completely botching the implementation of this filtering policy of his.

From an Opposition's point of view, we've been supportive of having a trial but we don't know what it is that Senator Conroy actually wants to filter or sensor in the internet so it is another botched and incompetent display by Senator Conroy and the Rudd Labor Government.

SABRA LANE: Given iiNet now won't participate in the trial, Telstra the largest internet service provider won't either, can a trial properly reflect what will happen in the real operating environment if the country's largest and third largest providers aren't involved?

NICK MINCHIN: Well, I think there are increasing doubts about this. We've said from an Opposition point of view, we are prepared to await the outcome of the trial. I've said it should be independently audited. I'm not going to rely on Senator Conroy to tell us what the results are and there are still some internet service providers involved who are respectable companies but I think there are increasing doubts about the veracity of this trial and as Mr Malone says we don't even know what the trial is endeavouring to determine because we don't know exactly what it is that Senator Conroy wants to filter on the internet or how he is going to overcome peer to peer transmission of child pornography - things that an internet filter wouldn't even prevent.

TONY EASTLEY: That was the Opposition's communications spokesman Senator Nick Minchin, speaking to Sabra Lane.