Will The Filter Influence Your Election Vote?

Will The Filter Influence Your Election Vote?

Despite being deferred, mandatory filtering remains a key government policy and one that’s likely to feature heavily in tech-centric discussions of the forthcoming election. But will it make a difference to your vote?

Lifehacker readers have been pretty vocal about opposing the filter ever since it was announced, but back when that happened an election wasn’t looming. Gizmodo’s Fight The Filter campaign will be running a Day Of Action on August 13, but ahead of that I’m interested in a simpler question: will policies surrounding filtering and censorship affect the way you vote?

The same poll is being featured on multiple technology sites around Australia, which will give us some idea of how important this issue is to the tech-savvy. Cast your vote below, and explain your reasoning in the comments.


    • I actually made that mistake.

      Admittedly, it doesn’t make a difference, I’m in a safe Labour seat, last time I voted for a mate from high school’s dad who was running as an independent.

    • I voted based on the title of the post, but my vote is the same either way as explained below.

      Pretty sure that a few , if not all of the Yes votes are answering the Question in the title, not the poll.

    • “The same poll is being featured on multiple technology sites around Australia” – it’s not just LH, as the voters are directed from other websites as well.

  • Filter – Do not want.

    NBN – Do want.

    I’m torn – I don’t like the idea of the filter, but I think the NBN is the most important infrastructure project this country has done for decades. If the opposition get is, the NBN is dead and they have no alternative to it, and there is no guarantee that Abooottttt and his mates wont cozy up to the right wing crazies and punch through a filter anyway.

    I think I’m going to have to go with Labor and hope that Lundy and others can get the opt-in proposals through …

    • There’s problems with that idea, unfortunately Jeff. There’s a political reality about the Labor Party most people ignore and that’s to be part of it you have to vote with the Party caucus so everyone votes the same way.

      For the last 20 years or more Right-wing Labor (Unity) has had the numbers over Left-wing Labor (Socialist Left). As long as that continues (Branch selections are made such that it should) Labor will vote according to its Right-wing Powerbrokers’ decisions. This includes the Internet Filter.

      AS you very rightly assess, the Liberals are no bette though and under Abbott are likely to bring in a new form of internet censorship which will likely be just as bad, while claiming to oppose this internet filter. It’s in conservative interests to be able to control access to some forms of information and this allows that. Both sides of politics are relatively conservative and Right-of-Centre, despite what PM Gillard herself represents as a Socialist Left Labor Member.

  • its not just a single issue, but representative of how each party views a number of issues – the jesus-creep in politics (people have the right to believe in whatever system they want – catholic, muslim, pastafarian or scientologist etc, but people don’t elect politicians because of their religion, so keep it out of politics) and the threat this poses to secular democracy in Australia, the expansion of the nanny state (your morality is your concern *and* your responsibility – not anyone elses), loss of liberty and privacy (government should exist to protect the liberties of the individual, not the other way round), and a general luddite ignorance of modern technology (because there are only 10,000 dodgy pages on the internets).

  • The poll is a little ambiguous. Yes, I would vote for a political party that supports the internet filter, but that would depend on who that party is, what their other policies are, what I think about their previous performance, and what they feel the final version of the filter should look like.

    For example, if the choice is between an internet filter or workchoices 2.0, then I’m going to have to give it some serious thought.

  • As much as I feel heavily conflicted about it, there are other issues I feel are more important than the internet filter. If enough of them stack up then I can see that “yes” is still a possibility. For the greater good.

    (My first preference probably wouldn’t go there, but it will likely come down to which major party is higher on my preferences.)

  • For me the internet filter is the “straw that broke the camels back” as far as the Labor party goes. I’ll be voting for the greens as Scott Ludlam has doe a fantastic job fighting the filter and has a good grasp the internet and technology unlike Conroy or the Liberals communications and technology minister.

    • You realise that the Greens preference Labour so voting for the greens = voting Labour.

      I personally will just vote Labour because the only thing worse than Labour is Tony Abbott.

      • This really depends on your seat. Here in Melbourne, with Lindsay Tanner not standing again a vote for the Greens (Adam Bandt) is very likely to actually be a vote for the first Greens MP. A few other seats have similar demographics where the Greens polled 30%+ of the Primary Voe last election.

        It’s also far more important to vote below the Line in the Senate and potentially remove both Conroy and Fielding from Victoria. I don’t think other states have sitting Senators quite as objectionable to those two. We need that balance of power badly and we need it to be composed of progressives, rather than conservatives. I am happy to back the Greens personally, but I also support independent Senators like Sen. Xenophon who are willing to think for themselves, that ability is what we need to help us consider the future laws and how our society is to be shaped.

      • It doesn’t matter who the Greens give preferences to – manually fill out your entire ballot and give your preference to whoever you want.

        I never use those “how to vote” cards they hand out. It’s my vote and I’ll say who gets my preferences.

        Because of Labour’s filter, lack of R18 gaming, demand to search my laptop at border control and their wish to spy on everything I do online, I’m putting every Labour candidate last.

        I’m sick of politicians labelling anyone who doesn’t want to live in a police state, and who wants privacy, a child molester or pervert.

  • as much as i hate the filter i want the NBN and the libs are saying that they will can it. i can get around the filter but but i can’t make my nets faster

  • I can think of things I frankly care more about such as health and education. Sure the filter is an issue, however not worth voting in/out the government over. The libs would do worst anyway. I reckon a better way to protest these things is to actually protest them.

  • Even though I don’t like abbott and the liberals’ ultra-conservative views, if they come out and say they will dismantle the filter policy if elected, than they will have my vote.

    Internet censorship is the first step to creating a totalitarian society, whereby our rights and freedoms will be stripped down one by one to the tune of “Will Somebody Please Think Of The Children!”.

    Before we know it, future political parties will be adding to the blacklist, and we will see censorship on the level of China right here in the great southern land.

    For the love of beer, please do not turn the internet into over-censored, biased “news” like our newspapers, radio, and tv media already have become.

    Sure, the internet has some bizarre places. And there are plenty of nutjob blogs with opinions I could never agree with, but that is the “beauty of the baud”, our last clinging grasp on self-expression & freedom of thought.

  • The strength of opposition to this filter concept is impressive. I believe it’s only a certain sample of the population who would voice their opinion in this forum, but wow.

    If the entire Australian populaton was represented here, I would imagine it wouldn’t be too long until it was nessesary to institute this myopic, rabid, right-to-porn philosophy permanenty in the constitution or something.

    My vote is somewhere between “Yes” & “Don’t Care”.

    • Mike, there is much more at stake here than our “myopic, rabid, right-to-porn”.
      The internet filter will have drastic effects on overall speed, which effects everybody – even you.

      Australia’s distrust in the filter is compounded by the lack of transparency regarding the blacklist. How will we know what is added and what is not? What will stop those at the top from hiding websites with views that differ from their own?

      Illegal topics will be one of the first to get censored, meaning any online discussion regarding euthanasia, illicit drugs (and their dangers), and a myriad of other topics may all become unavailable.

      I say “may”, because the reports commissioned by the Labor party themselves showed that the filter will be ineffective and will inherently censor what it shouldn’t and make available pages that it should be censoring. While all at the same time slowing speeds by up to %86.

      So please do not downplay our opinions here by suggesting we are all only worried about our porn addictions, because this topic is much more important than that.

      • Extremely well-put, Luke.

        I’d like to add my concerns about how this has been debated and what the points of contention are. I don’t think any rational person arguing against the Internet filter is in favour of Child pornography, as Sen. Conroy has accused every opponent of being. Many of them also recognise filtering the Web will do very little about Child pornography because the web itself isn’t the main distribution method (Peer-to-peer systems are).

        The problem is what else the government is allowed to censor and that’s anything which is CURRENTLY unclassified or of dubious legal standing. This means debated topics such as euthanasia and abortion will be made inaccessible as they are currently illegal and therefore in the scope of the filter. Other topics include less-objectionable things such as Neo-Nazi or supremacist sites and other sites like pro-anorexia sites.

        The big problem is how the blacklist will be administrated and as Luke’s already said how absurdly simple it is to get around the filter.

        The company making the filter has said themselves this is never what it was designed to do and I think that speaks volumes.

        Many world governments have tried methods of internet censorship and will continue to do so. I don’t really think it’s in the moral interest of the people as a generation of us have already grown up without such censorship and society has yet to decay into an amoral morass of depravity. It’s actually about power and control of information and if information is difficult to obtain, it’s easier to control what most people understand.

  • I think I voted wrong. I didn’t read the question again and said ‘Yes’ to the question “Will The Filter Influence Your Election Vote?”.

    In any case, readers of this site are going to have similar views. Do the survey on the street to random passers by and compare the results.

  • The problem with a vote is that most people don’t understand the filter nor the tech behind it. Most people would take this at face value. Just because the whole tech world is against this thing doesn’t mean your average person is going to vote against it. People very very rarely vote their interest.

    • I’d argue people rarely worry about getting all the information, they take their couple of minutes of media presentation (in this case the filter will block kiddy-porn), decide whether they support that or not and vote accordingly.

      Sen. Conroy has been very careful to keep discussion of pretty much anything other than Child Porn out of the media, because if people start to understand what else is at stake in that two minutes, it won’t continue to have the widespread support.

      It’s also a very clever tactic to “delay” the filter so they can get elected on the basis that it isn’t much of an election issue, then bring it in latre claiming they have a mandate as they have this time.

  • I won’t be voting Labour anyway but one of the pleasures of living in Victoria is that Conroy is one of our senators (for now) – I get to put him stone cold last when I vote below the line. However you vote otherwise, if you live in Victoria you should do this. If you’re a Labour voter just move the lower ones up but please, please put him last.

  • ANY party that side with the (CON)Man that spent $44M of taxpayers money on nothing short of stupidity, should not only be removed from office but sued for incompetence. (If we can sue doctors for malpractice i don’t see why this should be and different).

    That $44M could have been spent on first home owners grants.

    If this pointless filter goes through Aussies will have to fork more cash on circumventing it (and lets face it – it will be circumvented, we’re not stupid)

  • I’m actually a dirty coward! lol i haven’t voted all my life because I never registered.

    However like everyone says: “yes to nbn, no to filter” …well unfortunately the two can’t be split. Fast internet isn’t easy to achieve in the comfort of one’s own home… bypassing a dumb costly filter is.

    Then I think, what sites do I visit that are dodgy? Maybe that china oksupra site that I bought a few cheap pair of supra shoes from!! 😐

    Ok Conroy you win, go ahead and put your retarded filter in, but you’re face will always remain the same, you ugly bastard you look like you received a newskool karate kick combo from Jaden Smith …and your wife???! Is she Godzillas stunt double?!! Sorry to hate but they must be inbreeds!

    • marztar, there’s more to it all than dodgy websites. As Nicolai pointed out, the filter will ultimately give the powers-that-be control over what information the public has access to. The internet is the final frontier in unregulated information and news.

      Which is why we rarely hear anything about the filter on the tv or in newspapers. Almost every news source, publication, and media outlet in this country is owned by large corporations like News Corp, which owns foxtel, fox news, myspace, and almost every Australian newspaper we have.

      Look here for the list:


      Media outlets like News Corp don’t want open, unregulated internet. The filter will allow them to control what news you get, which is often misinformed, right-wing sensationalist garbage.

      Without free access to differing opinions & unbiased information online, the Australian public will be forced to get their news from mainstream media. And News Corp will be laughing all the way to the bank.

  • I voted No, but that’s purely because I’ve voted Green at every election (State and Federal) since John Howard first came to power.
    If I were a staunch Lib or Labor voter, the filter would be one of the factors I’d be re-evaluating my vote on.

  • Well, if it does come in, every helpdesk person in the country will just blame the ALP for the slow/broken broadband service they get (even when it’s not the filter’s fault…).

    Can’t imagine that will do them much good in 2014 (or will it be 2015?).

  • I’m not going to repeat all of the fine stock standard & sensible arguments made above me, but; I think a major point that the government don’t (and will never) understand is that you cannot block “child pornography” – which are the buzz words that they’re using to push this policy. It’s not like you can jump on Google and search for Kiddy porn – You don’t just go to http://www.ILoveLittleBoys.com and have the time of your life.

    The sickos who indulge in this crap have pretty sophisticated ways of sharing their material. To truly stop the flow of Child Pornography, you’d need to block all forms of peer to peer, FTP etc. traffic, which has so many legitimate uses that it would effectively cripple the country if they did. Not to mentioned banning the sale of physical storage mediums that they use to circulate their smut.
    What I’m saying is – their reasoning behind, and means to carry out the proposed filter, are completely ludicrous from the point of view of anyone who has a clue about the way this technology works.

    Stephen Conroy once said “I don’t opt into child pornography” – Well! I don’t know about you guys, but every time I open my browser I’m INUNDATED with lucrative offers to join the latest pedophile rings & Child porn communities – kind of gets annoying after a while, d’nit? I always opt out.

  • Hamish you are safe, your fictitious URL goes nowhere. Yes I did click on it, not because I want to see kiddie porn (I definitely do not) but because its the simple proof that Conroy is full of it. I challenge everyone to do a google search for kiddie porn, you wont find it because its not there or google already blocks it. However, because of fear of being labeled a pedophile people don’t try this very simple test.
    There is no case to support the filter that Conroy proposes, he is either misinformed or wishes to control free speech in our country.

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