There were speakers from all the organisations mentioned in the previous post, plus some concerned parents and other citizens who just wanted to voice their concern about the "filter."
Here is the speech that I presented at the rally:
My name is David Crafti. I am president of Pirate Party Australia and a software architect by trade.
I’d like to give you my take on Senator Conroy’s censorship plans. I’m sure that you will have already heard some of what I have to say today, but I hope to bring a new perspective to the issue.
The government states the aim of its Internet censorship program is to protect the nation’s children from mental harm.
I, and Pirate Party Australia, believe that nobody is better placed to protect your children from mental harm than you, their parents.
Personal filtering software, such as NetNanny, has been widely available at little cost for over a decade, allowing you fine-grained control over what can be viewed on your own computers.
For those of you with young children, I would encourage you to use this software. For all the previous government’s faults, they subsidised this type of software for anyone who wanted it.
We also recommend that children be taught about basic Internet safety from an early age.
Pirate Party Australia wants to see international cooperation, following due process of law, to investigate the actual abuses that lead to the creation of material that is considered illegal.
What won’t protect children, or anyone for that matter, is stopping everyone from finding information on subjects deemed unacceptable by the government of the day, such as graffiti or euthanasia.
What won’t protect your children, is bringing them up in a world where they are taught that doing the right thing is not the free choice of a good person, but the only action that can occur, due to boundaries set up by a group of unelected blacklist administrators.
The scope of the filter is currently claimed to restrict Refused Classification material, which is already more than the initially-claimed scope. Who wouldn’t be concerned that this censorship list could be expanded further and further?
Senator Conroy himself has stated that he is in talks with Google to filter YouTube. He claims that he knows that it’s possible because Google already does it for China.
He wants Australia to be censored like China?!
What this will teach children is to find ways to exploit the system wherever loopholes are found.
Their family- and society-taught morality will be replaced by rigid boundaries defined in secret.
Any civil libertarians out there will automatically see the problem with this, but it seems obvious to me that the Australian Christian Lobby, or ACL, who has pushed so hard for this filter, should also see the problem with this:
A person is not good, based solely on their actions. An element of choice must be involved.
If people are not given the choice to do wrong, then they are not given the choice to do right. If they are not given the choice to do right, then they cannot be good people. They’re merely robots.
If the ACL wants to create a society of good people, they should oppose the filter and support education, to teach people why accessing certain material is wrong, so they can make the right decision for themselves.
I’m an IT expert, so I know that the current filter plans are a joke.
I’m personally not that concerned about the immediate effects of the proposed filter, because I know I could get around it easily if I want, and I don’t know of anything that the filter would block that I would really want to access, anyway.
My main concern stems from the fact that it establishes a framework upon which more censorship can be built, which will further erode our rights to privacy and freedom of speech.
Version 1 might be a flimsy joke in practice, but the authority and ability will exist to create a more effective version down the line.
To those who support the current Labor government generally, keep in mind that when a version of the filter exists that is not a joke, you don’t know who will be in government.
Will it be Liberal? Will it be Labor? Will it be some new party that exists in 50 years time? We just don’t know.
While the current government might be implementing this censorship scheme with the best of intentions, who can predict what the intentions of future governments might be?
What happens when the secret filter list starts silently including political websites? You won’t even know, so how can you protest?
Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia and modern-day China and Iran all began their strangleholds on their populations by limiting freedom of communication in some way. If we are ever unfortunate enough to have a government like one of those thrust upon us, let’s not hand them the tools to oppress us!
The only way to stop this from creeping in scope is to stop it dead in its tracks.
There is no good censorship!
Anyway, it has just started hailing massively here, so I'm going to go and unplug some stuff.