Dear Mr Albanese, Internet censorship trials must stop

Photograph of Anthony Albanese MP

Here’s my letter to my federal MP Anthony Albanese (pictured), which this very moment is rolling off his fax machine.

I’m hoping that Mr Albanese will be able to have some impact on this because he is both Minister for Infrastructure — the Internet is key infrastructure, right? — and Leader of the House of Representatives.

I know that he understands human rights issues because … well, us Marrickville folks just do understand these things, right Anthony? And you certainly knew how to stick it into John Howard when he demonstrated cluelessness.

Like Mark Newton, I also release this letter into the public domain.

The Hon Anthony Albanese MP
Federal Member for Grayndler
334A Marrickville Road
Marrickville NSW 2204

Internet censorship is poor policy: filtering trials must stop at once

Good morning Mr Albanese,

I write to you, my elected representative, to express my deepest concerns about the government’s current plans for censoring the Internet.

Respected network engineer Mark Newton, who I consider to be one of the pioneers of the commercial Internet in this country, has powerfully detailed his own concerns in a letter to his local MP, Kate Ellis. I too would like to see the government provide specific responses to the issues he raises — rather than the attempted bullying which has come from Senator Stephen Conroy’s office.

Where is the demonstrated need for an online censorship regime? Where is the evidence that it is technologically feasible? Where is the demonstration that is it effective? Where is the demonstration that the stated potential side effects can be mitigated?

I have already speculated in Crikey that the Rudd government is only continuing with the filtering trials, which were set up by the Howard government, to placate Senators Steve Fielding and Nick Xenophon. I do understand that to secure their vote on other matters the government needs to toss them a bone occasionally. But…

The fundamental human right of free and open communication is far, far too important to use as a bargaining chip for Senate votes.

Last week’s Senate Estimates showed that The Greens understand this. Senator Conroy’s responses show that he cannot defend the trials on their merits — and more worryingly that he, and by extension the Australian Labor Party, does not understand.

During the 2007 election campaign the Prime Minister said many times that his government would be one of “evidence-based policy”. The evidence clearly shows that Labor’s policy on Internet censorship is wrong.

The only rational outcome is for these trials to cease immediately, before any more taxpayers’ money is wasted.

I welcome you response.



Should you wish to print and send this to your local MP too, here’s a PDF copy, as well as the PDF of Mark Newton’s letter.

The quickest way to find your local MP is to hit, and enter your postcode. You can then click through to his or her website for the contact details.

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