Young Liberal Movement & Internet Censorship

Perusing through the policies proposed at the current Federal Young Liberal Convention, I have to note how generally impressed I am with the commitment almost all of them show to true Liberal values & freedom.

I am particularly pleased though –  considering how topical it is – with the strong opposition to Internet censorship in the motions submitted. As many of you would know, the Australian Liberal Students’ Federation voted unanimously  to oppose all forms of internet censorship, and now it looks like the YL’s are set to do the same:

28. (NSW) The Young Liberal Movement of Australia rejects compulsory censorship of the Internet as an unnecessary curtailment of freedom of speech and as unwarranted government intrusion, and suggests that parental responsibility and monitoring is a far superior way of protecting children.

30. (Tasmania & WA) The Young Liberal Movement opposes all forms of compulsory Internet censorship.

Great Motions!

Unfortunately though, it seems that these will not be unanimous. The following motion also appears on the Agenda:

29. The Young Liberal Movement of Australia calls upon the Federal Opposition to:

A) Propose that consistent censorship restrictions be applied and enforced across all forms of pornographic media;
B) Require pornographic websites to apply for, and display, an age censorship classification rating and registration number from the Office of Film and Literature Classification, consistent with obligations for publishers of pornographic magazines and movies, irrespective of their country of origin.
C) Investigate the feasibility of applying age verification procedures currently in widespread use throughout the internet gambling industry.
D) Create a “white list” of registered websites that comply with the age and legal content restrictions of the current Australian X18+ classification.
E) Prohibit Australian users from accessing illegal pornographic websites not on this list and impose penalties for doing so.
F) Create a publicly-searchable database of all Australian offenders caught accessing any form of illegal pornography.
G) Investigate the feasibility of using internet filtration technology to block illegal pornography from being accessed in Australia

I am rarely at a loss for words, but the astoundingly mind-numbing stupidity of such a motion just leaves me speechless. It would be laughable if it wasn’t so bad.

The state from which this motion is proposed is not listed, no doubt out of embarrassment, but I certainly can’t see  something so blatantly ridiculous  being proposed by the ACT or SA, and can only assume that it was written by an intellectually retarded yokel from the middle of the bush whose understanding of technology
results in bafflement at the functions of a simile calculator.

The arguments against censorship pornography generally are well known – free speech, parental responsibility and so on – so I won’t  repeat them here. Instead I’ll just briefly comment on the practicalities of this proposal.

The Australian Government – which has NO – i repeat – NO jurisdiction over foreign web pages is to require them to display age censorship ratings? And get a registration number?  There is – obviously – no way this is enforceable other than with the adoption of a ‘clean-feed’ – and then, the bureaucratic nightmare is… my God… how do you
even begin to get into this? Words fail me to explain adequately the magnitude of the impossibility of this task. How do you describe what ‘pornographic’ is? Should things that are rated M or MA or R as movies be included?
Are we to expect millions and millions of websites to have to submit? Why stop there? With this logic should ALL websites accessible in Australia be later required to get rankings?

Is the government really going to spend resources having teams of people checking the – again – millions of pornographic websites out there and busily putting the names of those who aren’t ‘registered’ on a blacklist? This plan will certainly have one positive effect – it will completly eliminate Australia’s unemployment problem as  anyone currently unemployed would have to join this mammoth governmental department!

This is… I mean… this is mindboggling.

And point F? A publicly searchable database of people looking up porn? Bearining in mind that things that are prohibited content is not  illegal content in that it is child-abuse etc. The definition is CONSIDERABLY more broad than that. Obviously many forms of hardcore porn involve consentual adults, yet are illegal. You would put everyone who accesses this on a national pervert database??? The mind boggles! Are we to have teams of secret police enforcing this? Maybe establish a ‘dob in your neighbour’ taskforce?’

In any event, prohibited content is not limited to pornography (note that under CURRENT guidelines the pro-life website would be considered prohibited content due to the photos of aborted fetuses).

This proposal is impractical, immoral and ridiculous. Whoever the moron who proposed it deserves nothing less than to be laughed out of the conference in abject humiliation (and get some form of counselling for his/her porn-obsession).

UPDATE: I have been informed that this ridiculous notion was unanimously voted down. I’m unsure why observers got to move this motion, or speak on it, but thankfully freedom triumphed. Even better, I’m informed motions 28 and 30 were passed with only one dissenter, which wasn’t of that serious a nature anyway.

Freedom triumphs!


12 Responses to “Young Liberal Movement & Internet Censorship”

  1. Beccy Says:

    29 was unanimously voted down.

  2. Richard Wilson Says:

    Tim – to summarise the debate, there was very little support in the room for 29. The only real argument advanced in favour was that we have to protect children from the corrosive effects of pornography. Most delegates agreed, but thought this was better done by parents rather than government. Otherwise the room was uneasy with regulating the internet. An SA delegate advocated that all three motions be voted down, on the basis that none of them were rigorous enough for a national convention. As you know 28 and 30 got up, 29 didn’t get any support.

  3. Tim Says:

    My understanding is that no (voting) member of a state delegation voted for the joke that was 29, and 28/30 were passed unanimously bar said SA delegate who just voted all 3 motions down.

    And great to have live responses straight from fed con onto my blog 🙂

  4. Natalie Says:

    I’m glad that federal convention is now more sensible in how they vote for motions than in previous years. I am sick to death of all of these policies that certain individuals advance to try to enforce morality. We all have our own personal beliefs, on many of these social issues, as an individual of the Catholic persuasion I support such morality. But the difference is that I don’t think the government should dictate what is right or wrong. When I first joined the young liberals, admittedly I would have been one of the first people to support such a motion, and on many occasions I did, much to the dismay of people like the great Tim Andrews. However, my opinions changed soon after, mainly due to actually being educated. I also suggest that the mover of this motion receives a similar education.

  5. Tim Says:

    At the tender age of 17, I was very much the same way…
    Fortunately most of us grow up.
    Most of us.

  6. Nolan Says:

    Still think they haven’t worked on the issue of banning muslim immigration though 😉

  7. anon Says:

    I spoke to the particular author of the motion several times during the conference and they bemoaned the leadership and indeed the YLM generally for not supporting their agenda.

    True advancement of freedom in my view demands that the responsibility for the filtration of such material be placed on the shoulders of the individual when addressing the issue of exposure of children to such material.

    Censorship itself is a draconian evil that belies an undercurrent of deliberately led moralism that assumes people cannot be trusted to act freely but most importantly responsibly in this sphere. [this applies to internet, movies and various other forms of published content]

    Despite being annoyed by the acutely ‘morals agenda’ based nature of motion 29, I was quietly satisfied by the result. A reminder to me of why I joined this movement and the party in the first place.

    Moralism as espoused by religous dogma is important in the instruction of the individual [if you so choose to take such instruction],

    However freedom demands and warrants that the individual has the responsibility to ensure such filtration is successful off their own bat and to do so responsibily within the law.

    In all a triumph for freedom!

  8. Beccy Says:

    Anon, I’d love to know the author of that motion.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your comment. (I was the author of motion #28.)

  9. anon Says:

    I can only lavish praise on your authorship of motion #28 Beccy. Not withstanding I’d rather not embarass the author of motion 29 any further by exposing his name here.

  10. Beccy Says:

    Maybe you could send it to Tim! We were both dying to know who it was earlier, and we couldn’t work out who you were in order to ask you, Mr/Ms Anon.

  11. NSW Right in factional war: Tim’s Thoughts « The musings of an Australian classical liberal in Washington DC Says:

    […] at the recent support of some of these people for Obama-style community service conscription, or censoring the internet – the complete antithesis of conservative thought. This isn’t conservatism – this is […]

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