Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Sheer hypocrisy from Labor on internet pornography.

Download PDFDownload PDF

Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

Media Release

135/04 16 August 2004

Sheer Hypocrisy from Labor on Internet Pornography

Reports that Labor will move to force Internet Service Providers to block pornography on the Internet are extraordinary considering Labor has opposed all moves to protect children from prohibited and highly offensive Internet content, Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, said today.

“It is astounding that Labor is only now considering cracking down on Internet porn when the ALP’s approach, led by Shadow IT spokesperson Senator Kate Lundy, has been to do nothing,” Senator Coonan said.

“The Government has been working since 1999 to legislate, regulate and educate parents, children and all Internet users about the issue of offensive and inappropriate content on the Internet.

“Senator Lundy said it best in her Canberra Times article of March 11, 2003:

It is important that the orchestrated sensationalism that has accompanied this debate does not lead to unworkable laws that further mislead the public into thinking that there is an ‘easy-fix’ solution.

“But now a leaked report shows that Labor is considering expensive filtering that could send hundreds of Internet Service Providers to the wall with little or no benefit to consumers.

“It is the very same proposal that Senator Lundy herself said last year was unworkable and would lead to a slower, more expensive Internet.

“A Government review into the filtering technology that is the basis of Labor’s report found that it would involve implementation costs of around $45 million and ongoing costs of more than $33 million per annum for questionable benefit.

“Senator Lundy has again demonstrated that she is out of touch with her Party and bad news for the IT sector.

“Labor has continually tried to thwart the Government’s attempts to appropriately regulate the Internet including amendments to close a loophole that potentially allowed people access to the most offensive content, including child pornography.

“This is content that has been deemed by the Australian Broadcasting Authority to be too offensive to classify and too offensive to be available to anyone, let alone children.

“All of these moves have been met with cries of ‘heavy-handed censorship’ from Labor. Now Labor realises that they are out of step with the Government and with community thinking on this important issue.

Media Contact: Jane McMillan 0438 690 305


“The Government cares about protecting families and ensuring that minimum community standards are upheld on the Internet and in new emerging media.

“The Government bans all X-rated and Restricted Classification (RC) material from being hosted in Australia and requires age verification controls on R-rated material.

“We have also established NetAlert - a $7 million initiative to help educate Australians about safe Internet surfing.

“Controlling and banning offensive content that originates from overseas is more difficult so the Government requires all Internet Service Providers to supply filtering technology at or below cost to consumers.

“At the Government’s behest the Australian Broadcasting Authority has written to more than 650 Internet Service Providers to reiterate their obligations and to encourage them to actively promote filters to their customers.

“If any Internet Service Provider is found to have breached their obligations they can be issued with fines of up $27,500 per day.

“It is important that all Internet users can operate in an online world in a safe and secure way. I encourage all parents and other concerned users to visit the NetAlert website at or to call the hotline on 1800 880 176 to find out more about safety

and the Internet.”