No Filter, No Censorship, No Clean Feed, No Great Firewall of Australia

You can tell the internet is a wondrous thing when a person like Todd Tyrtle in Canada is able to refer me to an article in a newspaper in a different city in my own country concerning something I’d be interested in. I sometimes wonder if the first people developing the technology behind telephones had any idea something this seamless and global would come to pass. From Google Reader:

Shared by Todd: Looks like some good news for you, Ruben!

The Government’s plan to introduce mandatory internet censorship has effectively been scuttled by independent Senator Nick Xenophon. – The Sydney Morning Herald

It’s with this spirit of openness and celebration of the intertubes that I dutifully report that it seems the Great Australian Firewall proposed by Senator Conroy in the Senate is dead in the water now that Senator Nick Xenophon has ditched his previous support. Xenophon used to sit in the South Australian parliament where he advocated the removal of gambling machines from hotels and other anti-gambling legislation which I approved of, even though I decided to vote for the Greens. This latest defection means the Labor government has minority support on this firewall nonsense in the Senate, which means at least for the time being the legislation is dead in the water, if I understand the situation correctly.

Me standing in front of Parliament House in Canberra in 2006
Me standing in front of the Aussie Parliament House in Canberra in 2006!

This has really been a learning experience for me when it comes to politics. For those of you living outside of Australia, the two major political parties here are the Liberal and National coalition who are are the conservative, centre-right party and the Labor party who are centre-left and currently in charge under our new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Our former Prime Minister John Howard was a Liberal party member who supported George W. Bush’s every decision including the Iraq invasion, leading to Australia’s derogatory nickname in Asia as the Deputy Sherrif to the US in this part of the world. managed to run huge government surpluses, but at the expense of sharp cuts to health and education. I voted against him as soon as I was old enough to.

All this said though, I was relieved that the Coalition had such strong numbers still in the Senate so that along with the Greens and the independents they could block this ridiculous firewall that was doomed to failure before it even started. Who would have thought the Greens and the conservatives would ever agree on something… certainly not me!

No Clean Feed - Stop Internet Censorship in AustraliaNo Clean Feed - Stop Internet Censorship in Australia

I guess what I mean to say is, don’t always support one party blindly; if they do something stupid you should call them out on it. I prefer Labor to the conservative Coalition obviously, but at the same time it shows that the major centre-left voice in Australian politics is also capable of doing stupid things. At the last election I was tempted to vote Labor, but I ended up voting Green again. At the next election I was definitely vote Green. The preferences system means the votes will probably end up going to Labor anyway, but it’s the message that counts.

Am I being naive thinking politicians actually care about my vote? Probably, but I’m still young and inexperienced enough to think I can make a difference. With age I’m sure this will change.