I've just watched Stephen Conroy's fatuous, giggling performance on the TV show Q & A, in which he essentially refused to take seriously the fact that he is planning legislation that will endanger our most fundamental right - the right to freedom of speech. We must never let an Australian government gain control of the internet and start blocking sites. Conroy argues that there is no current intention to block political sites, but that is not the point.
Let's leave aside the bizarre stories about Russian gangsters taking over the sites of innocent dentists who then get blacklisted by the government. That was sure a great yarn, but, um, minister, if the government knew what had happened, why didn't it at least think to tell the dentist ... rather than just secretly blacklisting his site? Leave aside, too, that at least one PG-rated site was discovered to be on the blacklist. Forget that none of this would have been known if Wikileaks had not leaked the list, and that the PG-rated site would still be blacklisted for its innocuous Bill Henson nudes. Leave aside the fact that many of the blacklisted sites apparently have nothing to do with child pornography. All this is important and rather sinister, but that's not the main point either.
Let's get it clear: this government, which I voted for, as you probably did, too, if you are Australian, is attempting to use technological means to obtain a power that no government should ever have. Once the mechanism is in place, nothing stops it from blocking whatever sorts of material may be attacked in the future by populist opinion.
I'm sick to death of this communications minister; Conroy is a disgrace to the honourable tradition of the Left in Australia. It comes down to this: sack Conroy. Nothing less will do. Start again with a new communications minister.
Conroy has got to go.