The report, just released, can be seen here on the gov website, although it’s struggling from the traffic so it might take a while. Alternatively, Zdnet has it mirrored here as a pdf file.

There’ll be plenty more to say about this over the next week or so, but have a read of the report and keep a few things in your thought orbit.

Firstly, what proportion of 18-34 year olds would realistically change their vote over this? Let’s say (up to) 20% would, yet let’s also assume that Labor will have a 2% swing towards them. As a consequence, Labor wouldn’t actually lose any seats over this, but there would be a number of seats that may not fall to them as a result – Boothby, Hinkler, Cowper, Cowan, Stirling, Ryan, Hughes, Sturt all sit around that area on the pendulum.

So Labor would carry a cost that wouldn’t be felt among existing ALP members – a cost not felt ends up being a hypothetical cost that never happened when the history of these things get written.

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Secondly, even though the filtering issue inevitably plays well in the polls among families, there is a stated vs. revealed preference issue involved here. Adult content is a source of major traffic in Australia as it is anywhere else that has a net connection. How many people would quietly vote against Labor over their smorgasbord of pink bits getting restricted, yet continue to say to pollsters that they are pro-filter?

Something previously has been witnessed in this regard – for decades Qld was the most anti-porn of all States, yet also had the highest proportion of residents on XXX mailing lists.

Thirdly, the Libs have already got a line to exploit any anti-filtering vote and it was deployed within an hour of the release of Conroy’s report. It basically goes “The internet filter will not protect kids from nasty things on the net, but will instead give parents a false sense of security leading to the very outcomes that they are trying to prevent”.

Fourthly, what effect will the Greens choosing the pro-filter Clive Hamilton have on the party’s ability to exploit any anti-filter sentiment? Will it come back to haunt them?

I reckon that there aren’t any votes to be won by the ALP on the issue, only votes to be lost. Those that get a bee in their bonnet about the need to censor the net, vote Coalition, Family First and Christian Democrat anyway. Thoughts?

The other thing, which Mark Newton mentioned on twitter, is that this clouds every technological push that Rudd is making- especially the NBN.

Anyway, have a read, chew the fat – interested in your thoughts. I’ll do a whole lot more on this later.


Here’s Conroy’s slippery press release


The last piece of public polling available on the net filter was taken a year ago, over the period of the 8th to the 14th of December 2008 by Essential Media Communications. Sample size was 1000 for an MoE that maxes out around the 3.1% mark. The question asked:

The Government has proposed a system of internet filtering to prevent access to prohibited sites on the internet and protect children from inappropriate material. The system will include mandatory nation-wide blocking on a range of ‘prohibited’ and ‘inappropriate’ material and an option for families who wish to limit access to a broader range of internet content. Opponents of this scheme say it is a form of censorship, will make the internet significantly slower and will not totally prevent distribution of illegal material. Do you support or oppose the Governments proposed internet filtering system?


On the cross-tabs we have:

Respondents aged 50 years and over were more likely to support the Governments proposed internet filtering system (52% total support), while respondents aged 18 – 24 were more likely to oppose the Governments proposed internet filtering (47% total oppose).

Males were more likely to oppose the Governments proposed internet filtering (51% total oppose), while 56% of females support the Governments proposed internet filtering system.


Crikey has a solid list of filter coverage.