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Government defeats Labor online services amendments.

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Media Statement

Stephen Smith MP

Member for Perth

Shadow Minister for Communications


Wednesday May 26 th 1999





The Government, with the support of Senators Harradine and Colston, today defeated L abor’s amendments to the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Online Services) Bill.


Shadow Minister for Communications, Stephen Smith, today said that the Opposition was very disappointed that the Government had not agreed to the Opposition’s constructive amendments to the Government’s Bill, which passed through the Senate today.


“It was clear from the start of the debate that the Government had a majority of the Senate to support its Bill. The Opposition sought to amend the Bill to ensure that it met concerns about the legislation not adequately advancing the principle of educating users of the Internet, particularly in regard to the use of end-user filtering devices”, Mr Smith said.


“We’re particularly disappointed that our sunset clause was defeated by the Government. The Government’s greatest public policy crime in this whole exercise has been to seek to create the impression that the mere passage of this Bill will solve the problem of minors accessing inappropriate material. It won’t. That’s why we wanted a sunset clause to require the Parliament to return to this issue in the future.”


“The only really effective solution to dealing with access to inappropriate material on the Internet, over 90% of which is hosted offshore, is to make sure that parents, guardians, and teachers understand the use of the Internet and the capacity of end use filtering arrangements”, Mr Smith said.


“After two and a half days of detailed debate, the Opposition could not support the Bill, as the Government refused to address key concerns raised by the Opposition”, Mr Smith concluded.


Media Contact: Patrick Bindon (02) 6277 4108 or 0415 694 878



rw  1999-05-27  16:47