Episode 52 is online, Senator Steve Fielding!

Screenshot from Stilgherrian Live episode 52

Episode 52 of Stilgherrian Live, the Extended Tentacle Edition, is now online for your viewing pleasure.

We had some great nominations for “Cnut of the Week”, as always. From the selected shortlist, Graeme Hoy came in fourth place (0 votes) for being at the centre of one of Australia’s biggest Ponzi schemes, the $50 million Chartwell Enterprises collapse.

Footballer Greg Inglis, who for some reason I was calling Glen Inglis, was 3rd (14%) for the alleged assault on his girlfriend — though there’s news today that he may have been trying to help.

Who cares? He’s just a goddam footballer!

In second place (41%), all the idiots criticising US plans to actually have a health system. I particularly like, but did not mention on the program, the editorial from Investor’s Business Daily:

People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the UK, where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.

Except that Hawking was born in and has always lived in the UK. Hat-tip to Daring Fireball, though Investor’s Business Daily has amended their editorial.

Senator Steve Fielding as Cnut of the Week

The winner of “Cnut of the Week” was Senator Steve Fielding (45%) for his continued arsehattery and climate change denialism. Congratulations, Senator.

“Arsehattery” is such an excellent word.

Congratulations also to deanlk, who won another t-shirt from our friends at King Cnut Ethical Clothing he’s won before, you see — via his nomination for me! apparently he didn’t like my recent piece in Crikey about the potential risk of geotagging photos.

Stilgherrian Live will return next Thursday 20 August at 9.30pm Sydney time.

First interview with Fake Stephen Conroy

Screenshot from Stilgherrian Live episode 40

Episode 40 of Stilgherrian Live is now online for your viewing pleasure, including the very first interview with Fake Stephen Conroy aka Leslie Nassar.

Nassar, a Telstra employee, outed himself as FSC on Tuesday. Given that Senator Conroy, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, oversees telcos like Telstra, this created some complications. He now appears to be over the worst of what sounded like anger Tuesday night.

The phone conversation with Leslie Nassar is just over 12 minutes into the program.

Of course we also had “Cnut of the Week”…

Continue reading “First interview with Fake Stephen Conroy”

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.

Continue reading “Dear Mr Albanese, Internet censorship trials must stop”

Cheap tricks not the right response on Internet filtering

Crikey logo

Senator Conroy needs to think a little harder about Internet filtering if he wants Australia to be less like China, I’ve just written in Crikey today.

I reckon Conroy knows the filters are a dud. When that report on the Internet filter trials dropped, he “welcomed” it and was “encouraged” by it, but only The Australian used the word “success”. Not Conroy — a fact his office confirmed to Crikey this morning.

Completely inappropriate, Senator Conroy

Photograph of Senator Stephen Conroy labelled Cnut of the Week

Last night‘s Stilgherrian Live viewers voted Senator Stephen Conroy (pictured) “Cnut of the Week” by the clearest margin ever. But the actions of his office reported this morning really take the biscuit.

As Australia’s Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Conroy has been spokesman for the ALP’s policy of ISP-level filtering of the Internet. I’ve written about this before, but it’s back in the news this week because it was discussed in Senate Estimates, as Michael Meloni reports.

Conroy, as in December, was accusing critics of the policy like Greens Senator Scott Ludlam of supporting child pornography — a cheap rhetorical trick at the best of times.

This morning, though, news broke that Conroy’s office had tried bullying other critics.

Internode’s Mark Newton was highly critical of the filtering plan and Conroy’s evidence, but he was speaking as a private citizen. It was totally inappropriate for Conroy’s policy advisor Belinda Dennett to attempt to pressure him via Internet Industry Association board members and his employer.

Last year, Senator Conroy agreed with his Coalition predecessor, Senator Helen Coonan, when she said you get into trouble when politicians start picking technologies. Problem is, the ALP’s “cyber-safety” policy specifies “ISP filters that block prohibited content”. Conroy’s stuck with it. But the filters clearly don’t work. And he can’t be seen to back away from Internet filtering — in a trial program which, ironically, was scheduled by his predecessor — because the ALP needs the votes of Family First Senator Steve Fielding and independent Senator Nick Xenophon for other things.

Poor bloke. What is he to do?