What are they thinking?

Labor’s internet filter proposal is not just flawed in design – it’s extremely unpopular. And, after the last election, it has no chance of passing it – as we all know, the ALP does not have a majority in the House, and all the other parties except for Fundies First have promised to vote against it.

So you’d think they’d take the opportunity to dump it along with the other more stupid policies (*cough* citizens assembly *cough*) for which they’ve received nothing but mockery and contempt.

And yet they’re pressing ahead! Spending public money and further goodwill for, so far as I can see, no rational purpose whatsoever.


They’re not going to gain the support of the religious nuts the proposal was originally intended to placate – those people think Gillard and the Greens on whom she now relies are Satan-spawn. An internet filter isn’t going to change that.

The only guess I can make is that the ALP thinks it can somehow wedge the Liberals in the eyes of badly-informed family voters in marginal seats by making them vote against “doing something about child pornography” – but how do they think they’ll get such a flimsy and absurd message out in this media environment? Perhaps if they had some of the newspapers or TV stations on side, who could confuse the issue and drown out rational voices – but they don’t. No-one’s going to help them. They can’t really think they’re going to gain more votes than they’ll lose, can they?

Seriously, how do they figure they might win this one? And if they know they won’t, what’s the point? They’re either utterly stupid or operating on a level we mere mortals could never understand.

UPDATE: I meant citizens’ assembly, not community cabinet. Post corrected.

16 responses to “What are they thinking?

  1. They probably don’t even need to wedge them. I’m sure it won’t be hard to get a few Nationals or some of the really, really right-wing Liberals to cross the floor.

  2. Hope the greens don’t backfilp on this to push though something else. It will be their version of the GST and the Democrats if they do.

    How much influence does the likes of Clive Hamilton have with the party?

  3. Not much. And I seriously doubt they’d be that stupid.

    Bloody hell, imagine having to find ANOTHER left party. They’d better bloody not.

  4. “Bloody hell, imagine having to find ANOTHER left party.

    Thanks for the nightmares, Jeremy. 😀

  5. Splatterbottom

    We have enjoyed a little golden age of freedom on the web, but as governments and business understands it better to will be manipulated, corralled and walled off to be better exploited by governments telling us they are concerned about public safety and businesses telling us they will deliver a better user experience. Coincidentally those actions will also deliver power and profits to those who crave such things. It won’t be long before providing information for free is outlawed because doing so represents unfair competition to business.

  6. im sure no one in Labor wants it either, its political suicide. orders might be coming from higher up

  7. dunno, its hard to see behind the associated entities whose actually running the ALP

  8. Wisdom Like Silence

    They could just really believe that this great barrier filter will be a good thing. A little conviction politics, which is different.

    It’s too bad that the one thing they’re excited about is a wonky, useless, piece of technological bullshittery that wont do anything it wants the thing to, other than piss off everybody.

  9. Community cabinet is not a stupid idea. It has worked well at a state level in Queensland for over a decade. There is an absolute world of difference, in having people thrash out the detail of some proposal for community funding in the actual community rather than having them fly to canberra or to the top floor of a skyscraper in whatever the nearest local capital is. Government ministers should be meeting with stakeholders in school halls and in regional cities. It just makes sense.

  10. im sure no one in Labor wants it either, its political suicide. orders might be coming from higher up,

    So Conroy is the ALP god is he?

  11. By “community cabinet” I meant Gillard’s daft 150 person climate change committee thing – but there might be another more commonly-accepted meaning of that expression.

  12. Ah, the community cabinet is a totally different thing to the unlamented citizens’ assembly – it’s the process by which cabinet travels to regional centres and anyone can request an audience with them in advance. The process is probably still a little bureaucratic, but I think the overall idea is quite heartening.

  13. jordanrastrick

    I can think of several reasons the ALP are still pursuing this, most not especially heartening.

    1) RC badly needs an overhaul, regardless of what ends up happening with respect to the internet. Since that’s where the filter agenda is at the moment, it makes sense to continue the process at least for the time being.

    2) There was a strong desire to keep Conroy in the portfolio for some reason(s) independent of the filter [e.g. his familiarity with the NBN which now has to be reworked as the centrepiece policy uniting the minority government…] and its hard to do a policy reversal on this without undermining his credibility.

    3) Related to the above, the spin doctor types may have made the call that they will take less political damage overall by wasting a little more money and then letting the Parliament kill the policy, rather than pre-empting the House’s inevitable decision and thus opening themselves up the tired old backflip criticism.

    4) They genuinely believe some sort of filter (extensively reworked from the existing one) is both a good idea and has some chance of passing. Indeed they might be calculating that they might actually generate lot of goodwill from the Greens and Independents by negotiating very extensively and flexibly on this issue, which will come in handy later when knottier legislation comes along.

    5) Siege mentality – the fight over the filter has gotten pretty heated, with Conroy’s responses in particular to criticism coming from non-partisan groups like Google (and the US state department…) verging into the realms of hysteria. He’s become too emotionally involved in the dispute and can’t make a clear headed judgement about it anymore, and Gillard’s had way too much else on her plate to devote serious time (to judge e.g. whether she needs to overrule Conroy or not) to something that doesn’t actually change the 2PP vote much, despite strongly held opinions from the people who do care about it.

    5) There’s a few other less plausible ones that I won’t go into for now at least.

    Without being privy to cabinet-in-confidence level discussions, I doubt it’ll ever be clear which if any of the above is true, unless there’s some sort of external policy shift which makes it obvious.

  14. Very interesting points.

    Oh, and monkeytypist – sorry, I did mean the CA, not the CC. Post corrected.

  15. Turnball just appointed shadow Coms. Should do alot better then his predecessor and attacking the filter seems like an easy win for him.

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