Government Digital Economy Blog Launch

Lindsay Tanner gives a well-crafted introduction to the new Government Digital Economy blog, which is to be open for a whole 18 days.

The Oz government is offering to receive online policy suggestions which contribute to their Future Directions paper to be released early next year.

Some of the themes to be explored include:

  • What does the digital economy encompass?
  • How do we maintain the same ‘civil society’ we enjoy offline in an online world? (this is the post that touches on the issue of filtering and we welcome your feedback about the issue in response to this post)
  • Is there a benefit for the digital economy from open access to public sector information?
  • Does Australia’s regulatory framework need tweaking to enable a vibrant digital economy in Australia
  • How can the digital economy respond to environmental concerns?
  • What should Australia do to ensure that our businesses and citizens have the necessary skills to participate fully in the digital economy?
  • How can we measure the success of Australia’s digital economy?

Perhaps tellingly, the associated Conroy media release doesn’t include the bracketed explanation re web filtering.

As ever, the Fringe is cynical. Yet hopefully, this blog consultation initiative won’t serve merely as online placation to the overwhelming groundswell of valid dissension against and criticism of Conroy’s ill-considered web censorship plans. In other words, scream as loud as you like, people, we hear you – look, we published all your comments, but nanny knows best.

That the government apparently wishes to make online society like our ‘civil’ society indicates little has been learned on their part hitherto in this debate about the nature of the internet itself. The ever-present hunger for control is self-evident.

The new list of Filter Fallacies invoked by defenders of net censorship is an excellent starting point for people wishing to challenge the Conroy Doctrine.

For example,

The Conroy Fallacy: That if you are against the filter, you are for child pornography.


The Hamilton Fallacy: That censoring the Internet is just like censoring other media


Law enforcement agencies have been disempowered with the ‘Labor Government’s recent removal of $2.8m from the increased funding for OCSET (The Australian Federal Police’s Online Child Sexual Exploitation Team)’, the implausible implication being that web filters will be relied upon by government to take up the slack.

The Labor plan to censor the internet is in shreds with Telstra and Internode refusing participation in Conroy’s flawed closed prototype trials.

Senator Conroy’s office could not explain why it was telling people that the trials would not involve actual customers, which would give little indication of the real-world impact of the filtering plan.

Senator Conroy himself has consistently dodged questions about his policy in Parliament.

“How on earth could you conduct a ‘live’ trial if there are no customers to assess?” Opposition communications spokesman Nick Minchin said.

“The minister also continues to be deliberately vague and cryptic about the definition of unwanted content and now he is unable to clarify how this so-called live trial will be conducted, even though he wants it to start before December 24.”

The Greens today called on the Government to abandon its internet filtering trial, saying it was flawed and doomed to failure.

Senator Ludlam said in a phone interview he believed Labor would drop the mandatory filtering policy in the new year once the now scaled-back trials were completed.

He said the Government could not abandon it now “without losing significant political face”.

APC critiques Conroy’s new blog


Conroy has not revealed why the trials will not involve actual customers.

Mind maps of Conroy’s flawed net censorship policy and fallout if it’s implemented.

OCAU Internet filtering WIKI – a vast compendium of links on a timeline.

Conroy gets a blog bashing over his net censorwall.

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has raised concerns about the effectiveness of a new Federal Government digital economy blog in policy development.

If you have submitted a legitimate comment to the new DCBDE Blog and it hasn’t been published, go to Filtering Fallacies and voice your concern.

Three terrific articles on Spiked discussing the censorwall saga – Danu Poyner’s ‘Digital Natives’ take on censorious Kevin, with a history of the current netviral protest against Rudd’s paternalistic ambitions to nobble the big WWW, Kerry Miller’s Liberal tyranny on the World Wide Web which examines the extent to which Clive and the Hairshirts in tandem with the reactionary Catholic Labor Party right wing have hijacked the agenda, and Guy Rundle’s Tear down Australia’s Great Firewall Reef. Guy summons thoughts of Bertrand Russell and Voltaire, when he says “freedom of speech has to be defended against the equation of its use with the small amount of criminal behaviour conducted within it, and against the moralising notion that consensual adult images and activities should not be freely accessible lest they cause ‘harm’.”

It comes down to numbers now. Kevvie will lose face if he drops the silly policy, not just here but worldwide – perhaps most importantly in Asia, where they take things like that very seriously. At present he’s riding high in the polls. Should the issue reach the house, there’s no guarantee some of the moralistic wankers and technological retards in the Liberal Party may not cross the floor. Turnbull has been very very quiet on the issue, though of course, in politics, timing is everything.

A Sustainable Australia

Andrew McNamara, Minister for Sustainability, Climate Change and Innovation, gave an impressive, lucid speech to the Brisbane Institute on the need for sustainable planning within Australia.

McNamara quoted the wise words of Bob Carr in 1997:

“I think people are ready to grasp the argument that the unsustainable growth in population numbers is degrading our planet and that Australia must begin to think of itself as a country with a population problem. Let’s throw away for all time the notion that Australia is an empty space just waiting to be filled up. Our rivers, our soils, our vegetation won’t allow that to happen without an enormous cost to those who come after us.”

Showing he missed Carr’s central point, McNamara went on to say:

The key to achieving a sustainable Australian population in the 21st century is population distribution – adopting policies which encourage and support population growth in areas where it can be supported sustainably, and discouraging it in those places where it can’t.

We hope the Federal Government notes well the plight of our region, with plans by the old Maroochy Shire Council to increase its population by 63% by the year 2020, and acts to prevent such lunacy. Stopping the ill-conceived and environmentally devastating Traveston Dam would be a significant indication of the Government’s good intentions also. Population growth in the already environmentally stressed-to-the limit south east corner of Queensland must be discouraged.

An economic strategy based on reducing population generally across Australia and encouraging same must be prepared – ‘smarter and smaller’ needs to become our catchcry. Increased education and parity of wages for women, removal of baby bonuses, encouraging older people back into the workforce, adequate funds for academic research untied to needs of existing industry in order to create new industries down the track, support for innovative brain-based, non-polluting industries, and more apprenticeships would all help.

The Federal Government might also examine the success of the Noosa strategic plan with its population cap and international recognition by UNESCO with a view to using it as a model for communities across Australia.

Going, going …. sold!

John Howard - Crazy Warehouse Guy

Latest figures on foreign investment in Asstralia are worrisome.

In 2003/04, foreign investment totalled $1,059,345m – and 30.8% of Whorestralia’s total enterprise equity was owned by foreigners, with the United Stupids heading the list at 32% of total foreign ownership, followed closely by the United Kooks at 30%. By the end of the December 2006 quarter, foreign investment increased to $1,433,466m.

That’s an gigantic 35.3% increase in foreign investment in just 3 years. Why did the rodent add more sugar by removing CGT for foreign equities investors last December?

Nett Asstralian foreign debt has risen from $390,565m in 03/04 to a disturbing $521,161m at the end of Dec 06. The vast majority of foreign debt is implicated in the private sector, with a disgraceful increase from $385,490m in 03/04 to $518,841m in Dec 06.

Asstralia’s total liabilities at the end of 2006 were a staggering $900,258m.

So what use has the concurrent resource boom during the past 3 years been to Whorestralia? It is clear that much of the profits therefrom have been expropriated overseas, leaving the Whorestralian economy beholden.

Team Rodent has patently been very busy selling us out.

Of SubPrimes and Pigs in Shit

Howard Wallowing

With the passing of the Ides of March, we have strong suspicions that the second market correction may be over – will there be a third? It is possible the subdued buying of resources – first copper, then zinc – by the Chinese in the past little while was deliberately orchestrated to engineer prices down to coincide with the beginning of the Year of the Gold Pig. Of relevance here may be the decision by the Asstralian government last December to remove capital gains taxes for foreign investors and the more recent Chinese government decision not to impose capital gains tax on their investors. Metals prices rose strongly last night. Will the bull market resume or will the crazy crazy selloff of our precious resources continue unabated?

A Porky MonarchyWho wouldn’t like to have been a cashed up Chinese investor this year, rolling in US dollars, eager to drop them into cheap physical resources as the United Stupids economy sags under the weight of precarious hedge and subprime mortage funds and a tenuous bond market?

And where better to invest than in relatively insulated CGT free rich Australian resources at bargain basement prices – particularly uranium (Citic has been buying up more SAU this week), gold and zinc.

Kiss goodbye to your birthright treasures, fellow Asstralians – and don’t expect to reap any of the proceeds of the fire sale in additional community services in this election year – Howard’s mudslingers need every cent to artificially deflate the trade deficit, to buy more crappy US jet fighters and electioneering pork. And as for you pathetic, whinging Asstralian mortgagees, get ready to wear another interest rate rise you have to have, trust me, it’s for your own good,.