Filter is a free kick for Turnbull: Labor, KILL IT OFF NOW

Quick suggestion to Labor: given that the broadband issue turned out to be a critical one in your retaining and holding government, it seems to me that it’s rather important that you make sure new shadow communications minister Malcolm Turnbull has the most difficult time possible gaining any traction in his attacks on it. In that light, would you mind not giving him a massive free kick in that very portfolio, and against the same Minister, on the internet filter? He couldn’t ask for an easier stepping stone to credibility than that asinine, unworkable, unpopular and generally utterly stupid policy. Mr Conroy may not be able to see it, but surely there are some harder heads out there crunching the numbers who can see the risk. Kill it off now! Kill it off before it cripples Conroy’s ability to continue to sell the now-critical NBN. Before it raises Mr Turnbull’s stature and profile and makes him a real threat again.

Look, you guys don’t offer much in terms of policy, but you are supposed to be good at beating the conservatives in the game of politics. I’m not seeing much evidence of it at the moment, though

ELSEWHERE: The Hun runs an utterly misleading attack on the independents’ voting record.

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37 responses to “Filter is a free kick for Turnbull: Labor, KILL IT OFF NOW

  1. Looks like Turnbull is attacking both the filter and the misconceived NBN.

  2. I have to ask what the religious right have over Gillard, she had no trouble back flipping and fixing up her ministry stuff ups in the face of criticism… (Not having the name education and rolling indigenous health back into health).

    It would have been the perfect opportunity when she executed Rudd to drop the filter. It’s like she’s stuck with it for so long that she fears losing too much face if she U-turns. Gillard, here’s a tip, the filter is not going to get up, the longer you wait the more embarrassing the inevitable back flip will be.

    “Before it raises Mr Turnbull’s stature and profile and makes him a real threat again.”

    Really, would a Liberal govt lead by Turnbull be any worse than a Gillard govt?

  3. RobJ: “would a Liberal govt lead by Turnbull be any worse than a Gillard govt?”

    They are both equally bad, which is precisely why the Libs have chosen someone else as their leader!

  4. What, you’d prefer an Abbott lead Liberal party to a Turnbull one? Or (considering you aren’t a Liberal voter) you’d contend that an Abbott lead government would be better for Australia than a Turnbull lead government?

  5. I was merely noting that the Libs seem to agree with you. Whether they have chosen wisely is another matter, although it does seem that Abbott has garnered more support for his party than Turnbull ever did as leader.

  6. “I was merely noting that the Libs seem to agree with you.

    On the filter they do, but just about everyone does.

    If the Libs were in govt, who would be the best leader as far as Australia is concerned? In your opinion. I think Turnbull would be the better leader.

    “Abbott has garnered more support for his party than Turnbull ever did as leader.”

    Well we’ll never know because Turnbull wasn’t the leader during the campaign, however I concede that Abbott did campaign well……compared to Gillard.

  7. Yep easy goal for Turnball on the Filter. He is going to struggle to explain the Libs NBN plan. Though he will be good I think in being critical of the ALP plans, (as no plans are perfect).

  8. Splatterbottom

    Anthony, the thing that concerns me about the NBN is its sheer cost. The ALP went from a $5bn plan to a $42bn plan in a matter of weeks. It seems to me that this was another thought bubble policy and that there hasn’t been serious consideration of the alternatives, and that NBN Co Ltd is a haven for Labor mates, appointing as they did a Queensland party hack to a $400k job without even advertising the position. The reluctance of NBN Co to release its business case or detailed plans is what you would expect of what will undoubtedly become another wastrel of public funds.

    I would prefer a public discussion of the alternatives, with a view to getting something that is a little cheaper. $42bn would buy a very decent dental scheme, for example.

  9. My concern is that Abbott either doesn’t understand the NBN or he’s just plain dishonest, he made a statement along the lines of having to have your computer plugged into a wall after the NBN rolls out…. Rubbish!!!

    Turnbull no doubt will get his head around the issues, he’s no internet n00b. Problem is, he’ll be doing Abbotts bidding and unfortunately Abbott is a Luddite (or a liar).

  10. Oh, and SB:

    “If the Libs were in govt, who would be the best leader as far as Australia is concerned? In your opinion.

    If you’re ignoring me that’s fine, I’m not offended but tell me you’re ignoring me so that I don’t think that you’ve missed the question and I don’t waste time repeating myself.

    To further the debate, do you think that one of the reasons that the Libs oppose the NBN is because it requires the break up of Telstra? Something that the Libs should have done before they actually sold Telstra.

  11. Ooops, your response may be stuck in moderation as mine is 😦

  12. So SB – your objection is not so much to the NBN but to the idea of modern-day Labor being trusted to implement it?

    Despite personally supporting the NBN I think that’s a pretty fair objection.

  13. Splatterbottom

    Rob J, it looks like Turnbull is calling for more detail on the NBN to be publically released. This is a sensible thing.

    I still have an open mind on Abbott.

  14. I guess it depends on how much positive influence Turnball can have without Abbott’s interference. I am in all favour of the NBN, and think the Libs plans pretty slap\dash and inadequate, the same token I’m not in favour of the ALP writing a blank cheque to the TelCo’s.

  15. Splatterbottom

    Mondo, my main objection to the NBN is that it has not been thought through enough. While the government continues to be opaque on the details, people will have concerns about it, especially the hefty price tag. I would have thought that we need a blend of technologies. This is difficult where the technology changes rapidly. I have seen reports of the CSIRO developing 100Mbps wireless. I would at least like to see a cost benefit analysis of the various alternatives.

  16. Wireless will never hold up, yes it can have fast speeds but the cell sites have limited capacity and will never compete with fibre. Fibre’s limits is the speed of light. With the speed of light being fixed this makes fibre far more scalable then investing in cell towers which if you look at the 3G networks become overloaded and redundant to newer tech in a few years.

    From memory you live close to an exchange and get 20MB+ ADSL2? Most Australians are not that lucky, if you’re more then a couple of Km’s away from an exchange you’re lucky to get 1-3mb. If you’re on pair gain or RIM technologies (which alot of suburbs are) you’re lucky broadband at all.

    I’m on a RIM and one of the lucky RIM customers to get 1.5MB ADSL and I would be paying more then you do for ADSl2+ (ADSL wholesale network price is dictated by Tel$tra).

  17. Typical Liberal voter: tight as a fish’s sphincter. “It costs too much” … yeh, more like you’re not willing to cough up. Pay what it’s worth and get something of quality, rather than cutting corners which is what Abbott is putting forward. Actually, that’ s all the Liberals seem to do: cut corners, get the private sector to do it (badly and ultimately more expensively), and then cover it all up by blather about “waste, waste” …

    Pay cheap and you end up spending dearly. What’s wrong with spending money if you get something of quality? Surely the NBN will give back to the economy once it’s up and running?

  18. I think you’re being sucked in by political spin SB.

    I’m not a tech expert, but I have discussed the NBN with a number of people who are, and not one has indicated any doubt that high-volume fibre is the way to go. From what I’m told the ‘speed’ issue being raised by the Opposition is a complete red herring designed to dsitract the uninfomred – the real benefits of the NBN lie in data capacity.

    Having said that I am in full agreement with you about the likely rorting of this project by the Labor party for their personal and political gain.

    Perhaps I’ve lived in NSW too long.

  19. Having said that I am in full agreement with you about the likely rorting of this project by the Labor party for their personal and political gain.

    Agreed, and having lived in QLD and Vic I don’t trust the ALP either. 🙂

  20. Luckily, then, that our current government now has members within it who also distrust the ALP. No doubt increased scrutiny will be the norm, thanks to our independents and Greens members.

  21. Splatterbottom

    Anthony, is your point that fibre is more cost effective than wireless? I think we do need to understand the choices available, and the value for money they represent. To me $42bn is a scary number. Maybe we can all do a bit to keep the costs down like the Norwegians.

  22. Seems a strange tactic by the Libs. The Independants were swayed by the NBN, suggesting they were underwhelmed by the Liberal-National Union plan.

    Somehow now they will be able to ‘kill it off’ when Labor is dependent on geting it going.

    Maybe they are angling for the SB-types who might find it a ‘scary number’. The Govt portion is $25B – is that less scary?

  23. I’m surprised no one has objected to the long term plan of the NBN…make taxpayers pay for a massive infrastructure project, and then flog it off to private hands for a firesale price (in a few years).

    it’ll probably be sold off to the very companies that built it, giving them a double profit

  24. Major beneficiaries of the NBN will be the media companies who will profit by selling streaming media. Their pincer attack also involves overthrowing net neutrality and forcing ISPs to police their users. Their aim is to set up walled gardens and charge extortionate prices for everything. Anything that is free online will be marginalised. At the very least, the government should guarantee net-neutrality over the NBN so we don’t have a fast lane for big business and a traffic jam for everyone else.

  25. “Major beneficiaries of the NBN will be ” Rural health services, rural businesses both large and small. Media companies will benefit too. Win Win I say.

  26. =Anthony, is your point that fibre is more cost effective than wireless? I think we do need to understand the choices available, and the value for money they represent. To me $42bn is a scary number. Maybe we can all do a bit to keep the costs down like the Norwegians.

    In the long run fibre is more cost effective. Cell towers should only be a supplement technology, as the 3G experience has shown demand will always outstrip supply. We have a chance to replace our antiquated copper networks and break Telstra’s monopoly we shouldn’t waste it.

  27. Media companies see the NBN as threat hence the push for the internet filter.

  28. Splatterbottom

    I’m all for limiting Telstra’s anti-competitive behaviour. But they will get a big wad of cash for vending in their existing fibre – I read somewhere it was about $11bn. I hope Telstra are forced to compete on equal terms with other providers.

  29. [I hope Telstra are forced to compete on equal terms with other providers.]

    They will have to if the Govt does what it should have done years ago, before privatisation, split the infrastructure, retail and wholesale arms.

  30. It’s hard for Coalition voters to comprehend why the federal government would want to spend money on infrastructure for the betterment of Australia. Certainly not something they were used to under Howard.

    Surely this money would be better spent on bribes – sorry, tax cuts – leading up to the next federal election…?

  31. Splatterbottom

    RobJ one of the things that is better about Labor is that they are more likely to stand up to Telstra’s anti-competitive demands. I don’t think David Toady has a very different agenda to the Three Amigos.

    I don’t have a problem with a separate wholesaler for the fibre network. But if they eventually privatise NBN Co, what is to stop it behaving like a monopolist and cranking up rates? Surely it will need serious regulation. Look at what happened when the Airports were privatised.

  32. Anyone else watch Gail Dines on Lateline last night?

    I am generally opposed to the net filter, but Dines raised some really good issues about desensitisation of young men/boys and other negative impacts that exposure to hardcore porn can have on individuals and society.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/10/06/3031331.htm

  33. Splatterbottom

    Duncan, it seems like Dines is a bit confused:

    But Professor Dines does not think the Federal Government’s plan for a filter to restrict access to certain internet sites will work.

    “I don’t know how people are going to do that. That’s the problem; that they’ve tried this in other countries and it’s not worked,” she said.

    “So this genie has got out of the bottle now and I don’t think that restricting sites is going to be enough.

    “We’re going to have to do a serious education campaign as well.”

    At least she acknowledges that the filter won’t work, and she wants an education program.

    Education is the appropriate way to deal with such matters. Censorship is not. Not only won’t censorship work, it will be a significant threat to democracy.

    There are matters which should be enforced by law, and there are other matters which should be left to individuals to decide for themselves. Giving people information or having a public debate is more sensible and more ethical than attempting to enforce morality by the iron fist of the state.

  34. jordanrastrick

    What SB said. I can certainly believe that the increasing extremity of pornography is due to an undesirable feedback-cycle and is having negative socialogical effects. However, so long as the acts depicted are themselves legal, the government has no place restricting the access of consenting adults who want to view them.

    To me this seems like a problem that might be profitably approached in part using the “nudge” tactics to public policy lately advocated by various behavioural economists. Government subsidies for pornography that portrays sex in a heathier fashion is probably a bridge to far in terms of political feasibility. Providing free filtering software to parents who elect to install it was always a good idea in principle, but it suffers from the problems with adoption rates. So how about giving parents small incentives to take more of an interest in the sex education of their child?

    Here’s one idea. Design a short online class for parents that demonstrates how readily a simple Google search can lead to material that is and should be legal, but that all but the most sexually liberal would agree is not healthy for children to view as their first exposure to sex. On completion, let the site offer to download filtering software with sensible defaults, unless the person chooses to opt out. If you’re feeling brave, include links, or at least information, on how they might find more appropriate pornographic material that they might be comfortable with their children viewing; you could even get really creative and allow parents to “whitelist” a few sites in such a way that if their kids go looking for stuff on the net, they will tend to “stumble” across the content.

    Charge parents whose child enters Year 7 (or whatever) some nominal fee if they don’t complete the course.

    Its a bit of government intrusion into what should probably on principle be a matter entirely of parental responsibility, but its miles better than a filter, and it acknowledges the existence of problem at the societal level.

  35. Agreed SB. Education, not censorship is the way to go.

    As i said, i don’t support the filter and i did find much of what she said a little hysterical..

    However her concerns over desensitisation and access by youngsters is, IMO, quite valid.

    Anecdotal evidence only, but i have discussed this issue with some younger friends and many have expressed concern over their own desensitisation, so i imagine considerable harm could result from inexperienced and impressionable young minds viewing violent ‘gonzo’ porn as their first experience of human sexuality.

    Obviously censorship is a bad thing, but the idea of educating young people to understand the potential harm to themselves and potentially their future relationships is a really good idea.

    I think the idea that this product is harmless is complete bullsh!t, this is an industry that exploits people, both the viewers and the ‘actors’.

    I must be getting conservative in my old age, i reckon!

  36. “Government subsidies for pornography that portrays sex in a heathier fashion is probably a bridge to far in terms of political feasibility.”

    Maybe its the drugs talking*, but that sounds like a good idea to me JR.

    *Badly broke my arm last week, still doped up.

  37. I’ve sort of covered this Dines thing over at Pure Poison.

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