The news that the Liberal Party would block any attempts to introduce mandatory internet filtering has attracted much attention since it emerged yesterday afternoon. However, a lack of detail on what alternatives might be proposed, and the lurking question of what will happen to the NBN, mean that advancing the cause of technology with your vote is still difficult.
The Liberals have said that they would block any legislation to introduce mandatory filtering, which makes it unlikely that the legislation would ever get passed in a Senate where the Greens (also anti-filter) held the balance of power. However, the Liberal policy does appear essentially to be an argument against the specific details of Labor’s policy, not necessarily opposition to the concept of filtering on other grounds. It’s worth remembering that the blacklist which forms the cornerstone of Labor’s suggested approach was introduced by the Coalition when it was in power. Yes, that’s the first point Labor itself made in reacting to the announcement, before returning to its usual tired “if you oppose us you support child pornography” rhetoric, but it’s worth noting nonetheless.
It’s also worth remembering that Liberal policy is to discard the NBN. Not only would that eliminate a major potential boost to Australian infrastructure, it would also mean essentially leaving Telstra in control of existing infrastructure, an approach which hasn’t worked well for competition so far.
Few people will vote based solely on technology issues, of course. However, if they’re something you’re considering, there’s still no obvious advantage to voting for either of the major parties, especially in the Senate. Voting below the line (and using the handy site of the same name to prepare for doing so) still seems the best way to make your vote count.