Defensive Conroy resorting to new attacks

stephen_conroy500Stephen Conroy has a history of characterising people who oppose his draconian Mandatory Internet Filter as fringe, Internet wackos who support child pornography. He has repeatedly said that there’s no way the Internet filter could be construed as a possible breach of civil liberties either now or at any time in the future. iTnews reports that he is now characterising people against the filter as conspiracy theorists.

He puts up a pretty thin argument. From the article:

Conroy ridiculed suggestions that the trial is “the thin edge of the wedge” – the beginnings of a Government cracking down on political dissent.

He said the Senate, with its balance of views, will provide the rigorous assessment of any proposed changes to Internet censorship required to achieve positive outcomes.

“There is this argument out there that says – my God! We can’t let the Senate have a say on this!”

“The Government of Australia is elected,” he said. “If the parliament wants to take this path, the last time I checked, that’s ok.”

Conroy seems to be advancing his own silly theory that, as long as something’s in the hands of the Senate, nothing can possibly go wrong. On top of this, he also seems to be saying, as the Government is elected, any path the parliament takes should have the support of the people who elected that government. I know that many people would find that suggestion insulting and offensive. This is a classic attempt to silence dissent.

The filter as it’s currently proposed dramatically changes the infrastructure of the country. Clearly, the Senate is by no means a fool proof means of ensuring that this new infrastructure doesn’t become a vehicle for the erosion of civil rights. In certain configurations, the balance of power in the Senate can rest with a single person or a small group of people. If these people vote with the Government of the day, legislation can pass. If the Government has an outright majority in the Senate, the process of passing legislation through the Senate is elementary. We need not even mention legislation with bipartisan support.

The parliament isn’t static. Neither Conroy nor anyone else has any way of guaranteeing the make up of the Senate at any time in the future, therefore there’s no way he can substantiate his claims. Any primary school student who has learnt about the way the parliament works should be able to see through Senator Conroy’s ridiculous and unconvincing arguments.

This is yet another attempt by Conroy to characterise those of us who denounce the filter as lunatics (in addition to child pornographers). Obviously, fringes do exist. There are people out there who claim that this filter is a part of a vast, international conspiracy, but no one is listening to them. Most of the people taking serious issue with the filter have concerns about the technical infeasibility of the project and the fact the infrastructure could be misused at any time in the future. In addition, it has been proven that the filter will not protect children, which is supposedly the reason for its design. Conroy should spend more time addressing the serious concerns people have, rather than taking on the low hanging fruit of truly fringe conspiracy nuts.


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