Conroy (Almost) Concedes Defeat On Internet Filter

David Ramli over at ARN managed to score some one-on-one time with the Communications Minister in the final run up to the election, in which Senator Conroy made a rather startling admission:

When asked by Ramli:

On filtering, the issue is dead in the Senate regardless of who wins thanks to the Opposition, the Greens and Senator Nick Xenophon vowing to vote against it. Is there any way you would bring mandatory filtering in without a vote in the Senate?

Conroy replied:

Genuinely, I don’t believe we can, I don’t think there’s a backdoor way we could do it. I think the only way we could do it is through Parliament.

The entire interview is both fascinating and entertaining, not just for the admission from Conroy that the filter will likely never be passed through parliament, but also for the way he bluntly states that they simply won't release or even commit to a business case or cost-benefit analysis for the NBN, calling it a "waste of time, waste of effort, waste of money".

Head over to ARN and read the full transcript.




    He calls the NBN a “waste of time, waste of effort, waste of money”? Good to see a bit of honesty for a change... ;-)

      He calls the cost-benfefit analysis a waste...and it is. It shouldn't be looked at in a business sense it should be veiwed in terms of its social value, something a c-b analysis won't take into account.

        "It shouldn’t be looked at in a business sense it should be veiwed in terms of its social value..."

        Cost-benefit analysis certainty take into account 'social value' and other factors, as those are inheritantly the main benefit of many plans, particularly from the Government. There is absolutely no reason why social value can't be taken into account in a cost-benefit analysis, and it would be a pretty poor cost-benefit analysis if it didn't take into account the social value. Saying that, it would also take into account the economic toll, but that's not to say it would prioritise one over the other: It would give the facts about the system. How much it would cost, and the benefits it provides.


      Actually he's not talking about the NBN at that point, he's referring to generating a "business case or cost-benefit analysis." justifying the NBN.

      The argument being that the Australian people have already voted to have the NBN, further discussion is costly and pointless.

      Wow attila, I can see you actually read the article and all. /sarcasm. he spends quite a while arguing the complete opposite, but calls releasing the business case a waste of time. The NBN is about the only sensible thing he has put his weight behind.

        As it apparently wasn't clear enough for some - the emoticon at the end of my post was designed to show that I was fully aware he wasn't talking about the NBN.

      Were you intending to say that you think the NBN is a waste of money?

    Hey, attila, he is not calling the NBN a “waste of time, waste of effort, waste of money" but the business case or cost-benefit analysis for the NBN.

    It is like trying to ask for a business case or cost-benefit analysis for the national public phone network!

      Yeah, good thing sarcasm translates so well on the internet.

    yay NBN!! boo filter!! and besides... money is for people without imaginations.

    I saw him on lateline last night

    to be honest, I was fairly comfortable with the things he was saying about budget.

    a bigger issue for me, for instance is: symmetric up/down.

    hands up those who would prefer 100/100 as opposed to 1000/8...

    it kinda undermines all the things he has been using to sell his network. many, many, many of those things, ehealth, e learning, any collaboration/video conferencing, really uses the same bandwidth each way...

    I would like news that the current plans in tas, with uploads ranging from 8, to a pitiful 2 mbits per sec, are just the isps being lame, and not a long term problem.

      The NBN GPON as designed does 2.3Gbps downstream and 1.2Gbps upstream, so it's capable of 1Gbps up. Expect symmetric services to be marketed primarily to businesses, however, and asymmetric plans for consumers. But it's there if you want to pay for it.

      Take a look at this presentation, it says that along with a couple of other good nuggets - like they expect 10Gbit upgrades to be developed in a few years, combined with 4+ wavelengths per direction = 40Gbps future :-)

        asymmetric service is so 20th century... back when all everyone was was a 'client' connecting to a server to leech shit.

        the whole point of the NBN is P2P, and all the the REAL reasons to have the NBN require pretty symmetric connections.

        now, when we weren't charged for uploads, it was acceptable to have shit upload rates and server ports blocked ect. but now we are paying just as much for uploads as downloads, I see NO reason why their speeds should not be nearly the same. it is NOT just a business thing anymore. the NBN is for the future, its time for the ISPs to get out of the past.

        but yeah. good to here about its future proofing :) I don't want to have a "640k is all you'll need" moment. but it is hard to deny that we HAVE reached a point of diminishing returns with regards to computer power (for almost everything)

        I don't think it's too crazy to think that we may reach the point of diminishing returns with internet usage, before maxing out the NBN's potential. (hell, some unimaginative types would say we've reached it now)

    Conroy has said: "I don't think there's a backdoor way we can do it [the internet filter]," not that there is "not" a way we can do it. Have you ever thought that one way he can do it, is in the very way he is doing it? The main ISPs in Australia have already opted in for a 'voluntary' filter - in relation to child porn - without a filter being imposed by parliament. What's to say they won't 'volunteer' to censor more material in the future, irrespective of Coalition or Green (or even Labor) opposition? It seems to me that the so-called 'National Broadband Network' is a great way for Conroy to covertly "buy" the support if ISPs into voluntarily filtering.

    "...I don’t think there’s a backdoor way we could do it."

    Am I reading that correctly? He's so desperate to implement the filter that he'd try to subvert the democratic process?

      That's exactly what I thought too

      Sure he can... just filter the NBN, once everyone is using it and the ISP don't matter as the filtering happens up-stream.
      There are some issues with the idea of the government having complete control of the network.

      That was my first thought too, but to be fair when I looked at the ARN transcript he also says that he won't subvert the democratic process.

      Ramli: So you would promise not to bring in mandatory filtering via any other method apart from Parliament?

      SC: Absolutely, I’m a democrat first and foremost. And I believe this is a debate that needs to be held on the floor. I urge other companies to follow Optus, Primus and Telstra’s lead on this but I believe it’s important for the Parliament to have its say on this. I’m relaxed about that and I’m a democrat at the end of the day.

    I dare say that we are going to be paying an arm and a leg for these so called generous speed, with very little bandwith provided. It has taken Australia ISP's a very very very long time to start providing value for money bandwith that other more advance countries have been enjoying for years.

    Let us not forget that with the new NBN we will have to replace our existing routers and network cards just to take advantage of this emerging tech. I personally think the Coalition plan to do a mix and match patch up job to the existing network is a good starting point, and from there look at what new and emerging technology and build up from there.

    "a backdoor way we could do it"? Surely the filter would block that?

    I have to laugh at the duality of this Government. They're giving us the tools to access information foster than ever before, but are restricting the ammount of information we can access.

      The problem is idiots think the filter is some back door way to further some communist agenda. The comparisons to China are so retarded people should be ashamed of themselves.

    Ok people... we are on the verge of losing the filter but also in the process of losing the NBN. with one sleep to election day it looks like abbott will get into power which is a real shame when he dumps the NBN and implements his shitty patchwork of shit.

    wait what

    Conroy replied:

    Genuinely, I don’t believe we can, I don’t think there’s a backdoor way we could do it. I think the only way we could do it is through Parliament.

    BACKDOOR!?!?!?! WTF am I reading?

    If this is what the Australian Govt. will stoop to...


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