Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mea Culpa

Hi Petro,

I would like to apologise for assuming that the line breaks in your reply imply that your response was a cut-and-paste job. I have done a test, and I can't verify that this is the case. I would also like to apologise for the confrontational tone that my first two sentences established.

I look forward to your response regarding my other comments.


David Crafti

Not letting him off the hook easily

Hi Petro,

The formatting of your document makes it clear that the response was cut and pasted from a text document edited using notepad.

That means that for all my questions, you have answered me with a cut-and-paste job about just the most obvious issue I raised.

This might be acceptable if I was only asking about internet filtering, but I was trying to get a more general overview of how you feel about the importance of civil liberties, especially freedom of speech, and you have answered me with a response that, quite frankly, I expected to hear.

I understand your opposition to the program based on efficacy, and I also agree with those objections, and I also disagree with Labor's removal of the program that allowed parents to voluntarily use free blocking software.

If Labor announced results which showed that the internet could be filtered with no performance penalties, I would like to know if you would vote that it should be filtered.

This email is not on Today Tonight, so I'm not looking for policy statements designed to cast doubt on the ability of the other side. I already have that doubt. I am looking for a proper, reasoned response that takes into account that we live in a free democracy, and I am looking for assurances that the people who represent me will fight to make sure that I contiinue to live in a free democracy.


David Crafti

Followup from Petro Georgiou

I said "You just lost yourself a customer!"

"Sure, you can use it."

I asked about the filtering scheme from the civil liberties perspective, and Petro answered it from the "Won't somebody think of the children?" perspective.

Expected, but disappointing.

Dear Mr Crafti,

Thank you for your email regarding your concerns with the Federal
Government's plans for a mandatory internet filtering system. I
apologise for the delay in responding to you.

The Coalition fully supports guarding our children from being exposed to
inappropriate internet content, and is of the firm belief that
appropriate adult supervision and guidance should be front and centre of
all online safety efforts.

Almost two years after coming to office with a plan to censor the
Internet the Rudd Government has not even managed to release results for
long overdue filtering trials, let alone come close to actually
implementing its policy.

The trials were supposed to start last December and take a minimum six
weeks, but these were delayed by several months because of a lack of
support from major Internet Service Providers. Results were then
expected sometime in July, but were then further delayed until August or

The Coalition has said from the beginning it was prepared to assess any
credible trial results, but almost two years after coming to office the
Government has failed to produce them, let alone put forward any formal
proposal for consideration.

Previous trials of filtering technology have exposed serious problems
with both the over-blocking and under-blocking of content and concerns
also remain about the adverse impact a national filtering regime could
have on Internet speeds.

Huge doubts also continue to surround the type of content Labor wants to
filter and how it will compile a black-list which would form the basis
of its filtering regime.

The Coalition has consulted extensively in relation to internet
filtering and based on all the current evidence and advice, including
the previous laboratory tests, we have real concerns about the efficacy
of Labor's proposal.

Serious questions also have to be asked about how genuine the Government
is when it comes to improving online safety. Last December it cancelled
the practical program established by the Coalition, which saw free
content filters provided to Australian families for installation on
their personal computers.

These filters were provided on an optional basis and would allow parents
to supplement their online safety arrangements with software that would
be tailored to each individual household's needs.

In relation to criminal conduct online, it is the Coalition's firm
belief that our nation's law enforcement bodies need to be adequately
resourced to monitor and investigate unlawful activity.

Thank you again for taking the time to express your views, which will be
taken into account should the Government put forward any final
proposition for consideration.

Yours sincerely

Petro Georgiou MP
Federal Member for Kooyong