Opinion: Australia Is Becoming A Terrible Place To Be On The Internet, And It's The Government's Fault

Opinion: It's easy to throw stones at the government when things go wrong in our lives. Petrol is too expensive, taxes are too high, the rich are just getting richer and the sea levels keep rising, et cetera. But something is happening in Australia now where the blame can sit squarely on the shoulders of those in charge: Australia's internet is at the mercy of idiots, and it's about to become a terrible place to be.

Andrew Sheargold / Stringer

Over the last 12 months, it feels like the idea of a free and open internet for Australian users has been placed in front of a legislative firing squad. From where I sit, the threats to Australia's free and open internet can't be counted on just one hand. If you just sit and listen to government discussions about technology, it's just session-after-session of the blind leading the blind. Nobody in charge appears has a full understanding of how the laws being discussed could be used to harm the internet in Australia.

Here are just a few problems.

E-Safety Commissioner

Let's start with the newest one at the very top, shall we?

The Government is looking to push ahead with this plan today, with legislation set to hit the House floor any minute now.

We don't know the specifics of the plan yet, but we know what the Coalition wanted when it minted the plan back in 2012.

The Coalition's 11-page document on the cybersafety of children (PDF) is a very serious document that talks about committees, action plans and processes.

The Coalition wants a Children's e-Safety Commissioner set up as a one-stop shop for parents, children and teachers. This commissioner would -- among other things -- act to swiftly remove offensive content from websites like Facebook and Twitter within 24 hours of a complaint being made. After that, the case can go to trial if required.

The plan also calls for mobile phone manufacturers to work with the office of the aforementioned Commissioner to slap appropriateness and warning labels on smartphones so that parents understand what the phones can do and how suitable they are for their children.

Phones would be "rated" like a movie or video game, with appropriateness scales going from Suitable for 0-12 and Suitable for 13-16. Also, smartphone manufacturers would be required to sell handsets with parental controls engaged so as to protect children from harmful material if their parents don't know much about tech.

The Coalition Government thinks that the internet is a dangerous place. A place that needs to be fenced off from our kids so that they don’t stub their proverbial toes on the big, bad online world out there. They want their Government-appointed “cyber-commissioner” (kill me now) to help keep kids safe on big social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Wouldn’t you know it, though: Facebook, Twitter and Google all think that’s a stupid idea.

In a submission to the Government’s public consultation into keeping kids safe, the big social players who have offices in Australia roundly condemned the proposal for a Government-appointed online safety commissioner via their local industry body, the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association (AIMIA).

The submission said that the proposal should be “reconsidered”, but it's a warning that doesn't seem to have landed.

"A policy that clamps down heavily on the things that young people can say to each other on larger responsible sites has potential to drive young people to engage in risk-taking behaviour on services that have less well-developed protections in place and are not covered by the legislated scheme," AIMIA wrote, adding:

"Given the government’s commitment to de-regulation and reduction in red tape and lack of evidence that existing mechanisms are not operating as intended, we respectfully submit that the government should reconsider the proposal to introduce legislation to take down content and rather work to extend [existing protocols] to apply to more services."

On the one hand, it's not an entirely bad idea to take action against online bullying. Clearly there needs to be more self-regulation at an industry level because right now, a lot of online bullying material posted by the attackers goes unchallenged.

On the other, it's just more talk designed to placate parental interest groups that is potentially ripe for abuse.

Facebook has said in an additional submission to the government's inquiry that giving people the ability too broad a definition of "objectionable content".

Furthermore, the e-commissioner wouldn't be able to achieve his or her mission of taking down content within 24-48 hours due to the need for proper investigation and action.

So that sucks, what else?

The Anti-Piracy Sledgehammer

According to Attorney-General George Brandis, Australia is the worst country in the world when it comes to pirating content. Sensible people would say that's because it doesn't come out here fast enough or in an affordable and accessible format, but rather than use the content carrot to crack-down on the issue, we're using the legislative stick instead.

Both the blocking of sites and a so-called three-strikes scheme are being considered, with legislation set to hit the relevant Minister's desks by Christmas.

It has been anticipated for some time that the government would pursue site blocking measures in order to cut down on piracy. Now we know for sure that the government wants to kill access to sites like The Pirate Bay from Aussie connections.

In a leaked discussion paper which details how the government plans to stop piracy, the government details how it would like to see rights-holders given the power to sue ISPs to block sites offering "infringing material":

"A...provision in Australian law could enable rights holders to take action to block access to a website offering infringing material without the need to establish that a particular ISP has authorised an infringement. If adopted, any proposed amendment would be limited to websites operated outside Australia as rights holders are not prevented from taking direct action against websites operated within Australia," the government wrote.

To save time, the government would allow rights holders to sue multiple ISPs at the one time to ensure they all block access to a particular "infringing" site in Australia.

"Such a power would clarify that a rights-holder may list a number of ISPs as respondents to an application for injunctive relief. This would reduce the opportunity for people to 'evade' the operation of such orders by switching ISPs. The websites would need to be blocked by carrier level ISPs at the wholesale level, ensuring that re-sellers would be unable to make blocked sites available to subscribers."

To get a site blocked in Australia, the court would have to be convinced by use of evidence presented by rights-holders that the primary function of any site in question would be to distributed copyrighted material. The court would then take into account the rights of those being affected by the site blocking proposal if it were to pass, and "the importance of freedom of expression".

Brandis has also indicated in a recent speech that he's considering a three-strikes system that sees offenders warned before action is taken against their accounts (emphasis added):

The Government will be considering possible mechanisms to provide a ‘legal incentive’ for an internet service provider to cooperate with copyright owners in preventing infringement on their systems and networks. This may include looking carefully at the merits of a scheme whereby ISPs are required to issue graduated warnings to consumers who are using websites to facilitate piracy.

Rumoured third-strike penalties have included slowing down the connection speeds of offenders, or allowing rights-holders to take legal action against offenders.

Mandatory Metadata Collection

This is a pretty big one.

For those who have been left massively out of the loop, data retention is a system that will see telcos and ISPs retain metadata on their customers for a prescribed period of time. The data would then be used by law enforcement agencies to catch bad guys and home-grown terror threats according to the announcement from Prime Minister Tony Abbott today.

The nation, and key members of Parliament, have been divided on the issue, with one politician saying that the system would treat all Australians “like criminals”. Others say that if you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear. Hmmmmm.

New legislation set to be introduced by the Government will compel industry players to retain the data, meaning that there’s no escape.

Privacy groups, telcos and ISPs alike see it as a privacy nightmare, simply because it scoops up everyone’s data at once, treating everyone as a suspect when no real crime has been committed by the overwhelming majority of users. Spy agencies see it as a blessing because all the relevant evidence needed to score a conviction against a suspected terrorist is there in black and white and easily accessible.

iiNet's Steve Dalby said it best when he said that collecting every haystack in the nation because there might be a needle in one of them someday is foolish.

The policy could see agencies with warrantless access to metadata abuse the power, which we've already heard about thanks to the head of the AFP saying that the system could easily be used to chase pirates as part of the copyright crackdown.

The Watered-Down NBN

On top of threats to how we use the internet, there's also a problem of access.

Remember when Australia was going to become a beacon of fast, affordable internet? We were going to use fibre-to-the-home, satellite and wireless technologies to build an ambitious network designed at bringing digital equality to the bush and force the digital divide shut.

It was going to be expensive, and that just wasn't something that the Coalition could live with in the end. So now we have a different National Broadband Network strategy: one that leans heavily on the copper network we've wanted to bin for decades. The same one that Telstra -- the people flogging it to the Government -- said was at "five minutes to midnight" back in 2003.

As a result, the Coalition's NBN promises speeds of 25Mbps as a minimum, rather than 100Mbps as a minimum.

I don't care the spin you want to put on it: I know I'd rather wait a few years longer to do it right, and have my patience rewarded with 100Mbps on an upgradable platform rather than 25Mbps on a platform that we'll spend more in the long run replacing.

Furthermore, the aspiration of closing the digital divide now seems further away than ever, given that the NBN Co now needs to compete against private enterprise sooner than anticipated. You can expect them to target flashy new investments like a fibre-to-the-basement trial at cities rather than country towns and regional centres more and more, given that it's what makes more commercial sense. Sigh.

You might have noticed that these are pretty much all Government policies from the current term. You know, except for the metadata one which is a beast that just won't die.

This isn't to say that we're railing against the current Government in a vacuum for a battery of idiotic policy aimed at Australia's free and open internet. We're upset with the so-called Opposition, too. Am I nuts, or has there barely been a squeak from the Opposition on these issues? All I'm seeing is a white picket fence erected to combat an avalanche of derp.

I understand that the Shadow Communications Minister has to pick his battles, as does the rest of the Opposition, but this is one battle I want to see him fight. The fight against misinformation and stupidity. Don't be fooled into thinking that this isn't a fight against stupid ideas, either.

All of this red tape, these plans designed to "fix" the internet is death by 1000 legislative cuts for the free and open internet, were created by people who I imagine aren't so-called digital natives. It's Generation X legislating for generation next, and it's hopelessly out of touch.

Between Attorney General George Brandis explaining metadata with analogue envelopes like a halfwit and the Prime Minister telling the world that his Communications Minister invented the internet in Australia, it's a wonder these people know which bus to catch to get to the internet.

Between the potentially overreaching E-Safety Commissioner, a potentially invasive mandatory metadata retention scheme, a three-strikes anti-piracy scheme, the ongoing Australia Tax problem, a watered-down National Broadband Network, the upcoming Trans-Pacific Partnership and site-blocking provisions in the Telecommunications Act being wielded by idiots who don't understand the internet, the Land Down Under is turning into a terrible place to be online thanks to legislators who don't understand how it works or how it's used. And that's bullshit.

If you hate it as much as I do, it's probably time to tell someone. Pick up the phone, call your MP (no matter which side they're on), and tell them you use the internet in Australia, and you'd prefer it stayed free. Pick something you hate, and tell them about it.



    you all know what to do next election then ?

      I'm not advocating for either side: I'm simply upset that neither side seems to be properly educated about tech issues...

        there are more than two sides

          But they don't have the numbers to form government. Hence why the term "Two Party" is often used here.

            and what is the reason that they don't have numbers? because people think that there are only two parties to vote for. alp and lnp were born out of necessity in the early 19th century, they're completely out of touch and by continually voting for them australia is going nowhere.

              Not nessecarily the numbers in votes. A party also has to be minimum size in terms of elected members in a required number of seats.

              This is what lead to the mess in the 2010 election. Neither side didn't have the numbers seat wise to form government. Labor had to form a coalition with the Greens to have the numbers to form government and that's what got them over the line.

              And this is why the Greens had such a big hand in Labor's final term. If Labor didn't toe the Green's line, all they (the Greens) had to do was withdraw their support and we'd have to go back to the polls again because Labor would not have the required numbers.

              Last edited 03/12/14 12:06 pm

                Mostly right, but its not a "requirement" to have a minimum number of seats, It just makes it a LOT easier to push your own agenda.

                If every seat in Australia was a true independent, everybody would be out to push their own agenda for their seat. Anything introduced would take much longer to get through, but would be a much better representation of "the peoples" desires.

                I don't like the two party system much, but i dont like a single (or few) seats controlling the two parties like puppets either....

                This is also why, "50%+ of the country," is a really horribly inaccurate way of looking at election wins.

                When really it's more like, "50%+ of electorates." If one party has 100% voting wins in fewer electorates than their opponent wins just over 50%, it's theoretically possible for the government to be formed by the party popular with only 26% of the nation's voters, strategically-placed.

          Luke Hopewell for Prime Minister?

          Last edited 03/12/14 12:03 pm

            Not sure how I'd go telling world leaders to go and fuck themselves on a regular basis. Doesn't seem to be working out for Putin.

              Even if it doesn't yield any results, I'm sure it'd at least be a satisfying job. I mean... most of them deserve it.

        What makes you think that they're not educated on tech issues as opposed to doing what is in the (best) interest of corporate money?

        Honestly Luke, you've presented a pretty one sided opinion piece here.

        Data retention for example changes almost nothing. Police et all. already have access to this data, they still need warrants etc... The only thing that changes is how long companies hold onto the data. Your phone company already knows which sex shop you frequent, your credit card company knows how far your drive your car, and google knows how many times you looked up bomb making instructions. If you think you have any shred of privacy online you're blind.
        Of course that doesn't mean we shouldn't have privacy. Just that it currently doesn't exist.

        The cyber bullying point - it actually worries me how anti-protection you seem to be. I'm not advocating the government's plan here. I don't know anything about it, but something needs to be done about cyber bullying and accountability online. The Coalition Government thinks that the internet is a dangerous place It's most certainly is. It's an integral part of our world but it's as far away from a safe playground as you can get. For someone so tech savvy it's mind boggling that you think children shouldn't be protected from the internet.

        I'm not saying we should block their access completely or slap warning stickers on phones, and it most certainly is up to the parents to do most of this protection. But the big companies like facebook and twitter do absolutely fuck all to stop online abuse. Every week we hear about some teenager driven to suicide due to cyber bullying. You only have to look at suicide statistics to see how bad the problem has become.

        Anit-Piracy stuff is a non-issue. It will change nothing and it's just a political football. Nothing to see here, move along.

        Everyone is so terrified of how every single law and policy can be abused that they completely overlook any possible benefits or that the intention might actually be good.

        Are these policies perfect? Hell no
        Should we be cautious? Sure
        But that doesn't mean we have to scream bloody murder and pull out the pitchforks.

        The current government is behind the times and has made a lot of mistakes but that doesn't mean we should just burn it all to the ground. Of course we should voice our concerns but do it with a balanced and informed mind not vitriol and hate.

        Open and free is great in theory. But LITERALLY NOTHING is open and free in this world. It just doesn't work that way. Why do people think the internet is any different?

        Last edited 03/12/14 3:31 pm

          Well said. I happen to agree with all your points.

          Half the problem with the cyber-bullying is everyone would rather pass the buck then have to say "s**t the reason my kid did XYZ is because I haven't been doing my job as a parent" (talking about the bully's not the victim)

          We live in a society where theres bugger all discipline but people expect the government to do it for us. Just like the "new" GTA V petition. how about stop buying your kids a game that is rated R18? or take enough interest in your child's activities that you notice that they're playing it? Don't expect everyone else to have to Suffer because little johny doesn't realise the difference between right and wrong or that he can get away with anything cause he wants to.

          The Data Retention, part of the issue is that its not just longer time holding metadata, its that restrictions are being relaxed as well....might need a court order but instead of one for a murder case, its now being used on what @inquisitorsz is downloading cause "Mr big shot movie company" wants to make sure your not downloading their movie. its moving away from "cause and effect" policing to a "lets check on mr joe blow and see if he's being naughty"

            You also have to factor in with data retention.. WHERE IS IT GOING TO BE STORED? - how safe? and at who's cost.

            So when there is 26 Zettabytes of data being stored. Who will fund the storage? the Government? pffft no. The ISP's will be liable and lets just stop and think where that leaves us the consumers.

            $60/m internet for 200GB download, ALL NEW FEES! at 200GB a month that's 2.4TB a year. thats an additional $20/m for the storage fee. All for what to stop < 10 "suspected" Terrorists.
            how about the government puts resources into monitoring internet usage for "suspected" Terrorists more efficiently.

          "Data retention for example changes almost nothing.....the only thing that changes is how long companies hold onto the data"

          We all know that this kind of data is already collected and stored for a short period of time. What I object to is:
          a) The additional cost to consumers - why should I have to pay for an ISP to collect "evidence" that cannot be used for my own benefit, but only to build a case against me?
          b) The ease of scope creep, and who gets access - government agencies will get a frighteningly accurate picture of anyone they choose, in areas where they have zero business looking. And we're already seeing that private companies are keen to get hold of metadata for their anti-piracy and other civil matters. This is NOT what these laws are supposed to do.
          c) The general attitude - we're all being treated as though we're criminals just waiting for the right time to commit a crime. Long term data retention should only deployed on targeted individuals AFTER a warrant has been issued by a judge based on probable cause.

          "it's mind boggling that you think children shouldn't be protected from the internet"

          We all know the internet is NOT a safe place. And it never will be, regardless of these laws. Children don't need "protection from the internet," they need parents that take an active role in their children's lives, and to be kept away from parts of the internet that could be harmful. You don't let your children play in the traffic - why would you just let your child roam free on the internet?

          "it actually worries me how anti-protection you seem to be...something needs to be done about cyber bullying and accountability online"

          It's not the government's job to discipline children - they should be held accountable by their school, their parents and by society as a whole. Getting companies like Facebook involved in this process is little less than a farce. Kids are always going to find ways to be mean to each other - their attitude is what needs changing, not some kind of online internet nanny. It's utterly foolish to pretend these laws are going to achieve anything at all.

          "The current government is behind the times and has made a lot of mistakes but that doesn't mean we should just burn it all to the ground"

          I think we should do exactly that. If you look at all of these policies in isolation, you could just say "well that was a bit misguided and silly." Looked at as a whole (as this article does so well), it's clear that the proposed regulations are a massive, ridiculous over-reach by a government that is too busy pandering to lobby groups to see how stupid and draconian they are.

          I have zero trust for the current government on any issue - they've shown themselves to be utterly tone-deaf, meddlesome idiots with very few clues about the scope of their proposals, and they're far too careless with the vital details of policy.

        As much as I want to see the Libs and a good portion of the labor party fired, from a rocket into the sun, we are pretty lucky that we don't have Comcast or Time Warner Cable.

      I am not aware of Conroy making any promise to re-implement the FFTP NBN if he is elected.

        That would be because Conroy isn't the shadow communications minister, that would be Jason Clare. I might be wrong, but I am about 85% sure that he has stated they will go back to the FTTP model if re-elected.

          Clare said about a week ago that the degree of chaos injected into the rollout is so astronomical they will have to formulate a Jew way to transition to full fibre but that we can expect to hear their policy early next year

      Its too late. Australians have, as a whole, become aspirational. Caring about anyone less fortunate than yourself is almost unheard of today. We now care about no one, only our money.

        I agree... now drink some Coke and eat some CC's and you'll feel better.

      Yep ... vote LibDems :D

      Your blind if you think every problem facing Australia can be solved by a change in government

      How stupid are you that you thought the ALP were serious, even THEY admit they lied through their teeth. If you change governments, then the project will again be delayed or cancelled according to ALP comments already.

      Fibre to the premisis was a political lie. Get with the program (you're about 2 years behind the news)

    I agree completely. I think we need a Bill of Rights - preferably written by the UN rather than our own legislators...quite frankly our own legislators are as you mentioned, full of derp and couldn't manage their way out of a wet paper bag.

    As a child of the 70s and 80s I am freaked out that no-one else seems to be freaking out about the surveilance and monitoring powers being introduced. I remember being scared of going to the USSR, because they collected data and spied on all their citizens, not just the ones under suspicion. The thought that at any time they could make something new illegal, and then pick you up for it based on your past. It terrified me.
    Now all grown up, I feel like it is happening here, I'm not a foil hat guy, but we do really seem to be just rolling over in the name of 'security and safety' and giving up an awful lot of our freedoms, especially in regards to privacy.

      I'm with you!
      Been aware of the slow but inevitable erosion of individuality in this overpopulated world - but people seem oblivious or just don't care - its seems to be just too difficult to worry about things they can pretend aren't a problem.
      As we get the new legislation, its a lot harder to remove it - by nature politicians tend to be conservative in their efforts (or just lazy) and will rarely upset the status quo. Also as both parties tend to be evolving into very similar ideologies and seem to be agreeing on policies that are quite frankly detrimental to Australias future - like selling off ALL the assets for immediate gain, and eroding our personal privacy

      Tried to explain things like the TPP to people, and its so easy to be confused as a paranoid tin-foil hat conspiracy theorist - because most people WANT to believe their government is there with our best interests at heart.

    Great Article Luke, it sums up the situation pretty well.
    I'm really not sure what the solution is to this problem, even if someone who knew what they were talking about was in charge the decision makers will continue to make the wrong choice based on the wrong facts. If its 2020 and the fastest we can HOPE to get is 25mbps I would be quite disappointed.

    @lukehopewell, Hey Luke good article. Tell me something, do you guys log IP addresses and if asked or demanded would you give those logs to a third party?? Don't want to incriminate myself on my downloading habits in black and white. Cheers

    Am I nuts, or has there barely been a squeak from the Opposition on these issues? All I’m seeing is a white picket fence erected to combat an avalanche of derp.

    No @lukehopewell, you're not crazy. Labor is just saying "No", is giving no reason and is giving no alternative.

    I hate the coming budget as much as the next guy. But if Labor want's to get any votes, they need to acknowledge that the budget mess is their own doing and start providing better alternatives to what the Coalition is offering.

    As it stands, the Coalition is saying "It's dark, let's make 3 watt light bulbs", Labor is saying "No way," but no-one there is hiring an engineer to propose a better light bulb!

    The Greens aren't providing an alternative either. They seem to be going about trying to bring everything down to their level instead of working up to the others.

    And the Palmer United Party is only saying what Palmer sees every morning on his "Word-a-Day" calendar!

    If a double dissolution is announced, I can see it going horridly wrong. I'm certain if it does happen with the current state of the electoral system, we'll have even more micro parties in place thus cause virtual none of the sides to get anything through.

    Last edited 03/12/14 12:08 pm

      Labor is just saying "No"

      Isn't that exactly what Tony did in opposition? Isn't that the fundamental problem with Australian politics?

      They all seem to think that opposition means "oppose everything".

      I'd love to see less "Their policy is bad!" and more "That policy of theirs is the right idea, but we want to implement the same core idea in a more efficient manner".

        Isn't that exactly what Tony did in opposition?

        It didn't look good for him either so why should I treat Shorten any different?

        Isn't that the fundamental problem with Australian politics?

        No the problem is the people who become politicians. And the sickening sense of entitlement they all get.

        I'd love to see less "Their policy is bad!" and more "That policy of theirs is the right idea, but we want to implement the same core idea in a more efficient manner".

        You're not the only one. Labor would be doing themselves a favour if they did so.

        But right now they are disillusioned in thinking they are being our saviour when in reality they are making problems they created or left unattended from Howard worse.

        Yep, Abbot said, "No" to bad policy and did his best to protect Australia from the economic vandalism of Labor and the Greens. Shorten, on the other hand, keeps saying "No" to fixing the problem that he helped to create. I do not agree with many of Abbott's policies, but he was left with an horrendous debt and at least he is taking responsibility for doing something about it.

          Economic vandalism? Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said they did a great job during the GFC. I'm going to trust his judgment over yours. Unless of course you are also a world renowned economist.

          Shorten, on the other hand, keeps saying "No" to fixing the problem that he helped to create.
          I do not agree with many of Abbott's policies

          I am confused... you yourself admit that the policies are bad, but Shorten should agree to them anyway because "BUDGET EMERGENCY! LABOR'S FAULT!"

          A budget deficit does not give you a free pass for bad policy.

            He made those comments in August 2010 but Labor were in power until September 2013. That gave them another 3 years to wreak havoc on the economy.

            And I never said that Shorten should support bad policy. Please do not try to verbal me.

      er.... FYI Labor isn't entirely responsible for the current budget mess. The Howard government is behind all the tax cuts and tax concessions that led to the current mess and don't you forget Tony was up in arms when mining tax was mentioned back when he was in opposition.
      So yes, Labor is partially repsonsible but the Libs should take equal if not more blame for the current budget.

        I haven't forgotten. I know that some factors were left behind when Howard left office.

        But Labor took the surplus they inherited, spent it but rather than cut back and fix the revenues issues the used the credit rating they inherited and started costing projects with taxes that later fell flat.

        For example, some projects were meant to be funded by revenue coming from the Mining Super Profits tax. Of course people found ways around it and the mining boom came and has gone with minimal funds raised.

        At best, the Coalition only are responsible for the budget mess. Labor has a larger hand.

        At the same time though, if Hockey spent less time whining about Labor blocking the measures and more time actually selling a very hard budget things would turn better.

        It's like trying to sell medicine and should be saying "You'll get better but it will get a little worse and uncomfortable before it does."

        Instead, Hockey has basically sold the budget as "HELL! IT TASTES LIKE MY HIGH SCHOOL GYM SOCKS AND MAKES ME SEE GREEN MAGPIES ON THE WALLS! By the way, it's only for the short term and should put things right."

        Last edited 03/12/14 1:00 pm


          But Labor took the surplus they inherited, spent it but rather than cut back and fix the revenues issues the used the credit rating they inherited

          If you are trying to fix a revenue problem by cutting spending you are doing it wrong. If it is a short term revenue problem, then the appropriate response IS spending. If it is a more structural issue, then investment is a good idea. Cutting spending is not fixing a revenue problem, it is accepting the lowered level of revenue as the new status quo.

          The GFC was the prime cause of the revenue problem. Blaming the Labor Party for a revenue drop during a worldwide crash is like crediting Howard with raising revenue during a worldwide boom. It is a strangely parochial attitude we have here. We think the sail does all the work and forget about the wind.

          For example, some projects were meant to be funded by revenue coming from the Mining Super Profits tax. Of course people found ways around it and the mining boom came and has gone with minimal funds raised.

          Everyone focuses on mining but it is a small part of the economy. 70% of GDP comes from the service sector. The NBN would directly boost this sector. The NBN is proper investment in the main engine of our economy. It is not even real spending, as the money needs to be repaid by NBN Co, but it is about revenue. Nobody seems to get this.

          At the same time though, if Hockey spent less time whining about Labor blocking the measures and more time actually selling a very hard budget things would turn better.

          It is because their budget and policies are terrible. Cutting science and education? I thought we had a revenue problem? Plus the unfair targeting of lower incomes. And their original budget (before lots of it got blocked) didn't even cut spending so significantly.

          Interest rates are low and we sailed through the GFC with nary a scratch or negative quarter and with very low levels of debt. We should be investing and working on revenue. Instead we are obsessed with a single measure which does not describe our economy in any meaningful way.

          Last edited 04/12/14 2:38 am

            ^^ So much this; very well put. Far too much short-term concern with votes, and no investment in the future.

            When your business experiences a dip in sales, you invest your reserves in advertising and business development to get them up again. You don't immediately start firing staff; that would guarantee that if/when sales do pick up you won't be able to take advantage of them.

            Howard coasted through our boom times, raking in political capital but failing to invest in our capacity to earn more in the future - instead he actually sold off our assets like Telstra. Now we're faced with the consequences of that short-sightedness.

              Far too much short-term concern with votes, and no investment in the future.

              Labor is just as guilty of such short sight. Even the stimulus packages had short sights such as how convicts in jail could get access to them.

              Howard did not coast through, his party once did work hard for Australia. Labor inherited a surplus and a AAA credit rating. They proposed a lot of good ideas but when it got too hard they just washed their hands of the matter and throw policy after policy to try and make people forget the priors that went bad.

              It's crazy how in Government they were quick to throw policy about but now in opposition they just vote "no" out of spite and refuse to provide an alternative.

              Last edited 04/12/14 10:16 am

                You'll find examples of short-sightedness in every government, certainly - and it's easy to pick out flaws in stimulus packages that were by their nature urgently rushed through.

                But I don't understand why you keep claiming Labor inherited a "surplus" - what they inherited was $58B of federal debt (which was pretty small - but certainly not a surplus). Perhaps you mean that the budget of that year provided for a small surplus of income vs spending? Which is true, but not exactly significant (it reduced our foreign debt slightly), and also easy to achieve any year if the economy is booming, or you slash spending, or you sell off government assets.

                but now in opposition they just vote "no" out of spiteThat's rich :-) I agree it's unproductive, but they're still a long way from the class-leading example set by Dr No himself.

            The GFC was the prime cause of the revenue problem. Blaming the Labor Party for a revenue drop during a worldwide crash is like crediting Howard with raising revenue during a worldwide boom.

            Labor also had a mining boom and the plans for Internet that would have been the envy of other nations.

            So no, I'm being fair in my comments. Labor had some good ground and even inherited a few extra from Howard. They failed to take advantage of what they had.

            Even Labor's method of handing the GFC (which was possible thanks to the Howard surplus) had major short sights.

            To get a stimulus hand out, most of the potential lied in one having paid just one dollar in tax. What stank was those who were doing it tough but still did the right who didn't have to pay tax were ruled out while those with convictions and even incarcerated were able to access the handouts just as long as they paid just $1 in the prior financial year.

            It is not even real spending, as the money needs to be repaid by NBN Co, but it is about revenue. Nobody seems to get this.

            Oh people get it. Australian's just didn't like Conroy trying to put a filter on top and continued to have it rolled out in areas to garner votes instead of in major CBDs which would have caused revenue to come in hard and fast.

            You're entitled to your opinion but just remember a lot of what you just said Labor is just as equally guilty of.

            Last edited 04/12/14 8:27 am

      the budget mess is their own doing

      No, the current state of the budget is actually the Liberal's doing. They doubled the deficit since taking office as confirmed by the ABC at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-05-06/has-the-government-doubled-the-budget-deficit/5423392

      Plus the Labor government had the best response to the GFC of any government in the developed world. We are lucky to be one of the few to not go into recession and our debt to GDP ratio is among the lowest in the world. We were in a damn good place until the ALP got voted out

        No, the current state of the budget is actually the Liberal's doing.

        You keep telling yourself that. It's not going to change the fact that Labor had a massive hand in the mess.

        Just because the ABC confirmed one small element does not mean the Coalition (not the Liberals) is responsible for the mess.

        Plus the Labor government had the best response to the GFC of any government in the developed world.

        A response made possible by Costelo's cuts that lead to the Howard surplus that Labor inherited.

        And as pointed out above, there were a lot of short falls where the handouts were given to people who clearly did not deserve it.

        We are lucky to be one of the few to not go into recession and our debt to GDP ratio is among the lowest in the world.

        And you think it would just stay that way without addressing the mess Labor left behind? That spin did not work for Rudd so I don't see why it should work for you.

        There is a mess and it is to be cleaned up. If Labor really had some smarts, they'd weaken the Coalition Budget by saying, "Isn't X a better way?" Instead they are just saying "No" and provide no alternative.

        Abbott got lampooned for the same thing so Shorten is not exempt.

        Last edited 04/12/14 10:04 am

          Again - what is this "Howard surplus" you keep talking about? Please give actual figures, ideally with sources.

            If you bothered, you would find that in his final year alone, the Coalition surplus was something like $20bn and that does not include the surpli from other years - AFTER they paid-off $96bn of the previous Labor government's debt. As well, Howard and Co established the Future Fund and pushed something like $50bn into that from the surpli.

            On the other hand, Swan predicted an $18bn budget deficit for his final term, which has now blown-out to $48bn - IN JUST ONE YEAR!

              Take a look at the link in my other post. The last Howard budget projected a $10B revenue surplus for that year - but still left the government with over $60B in federal debt. And most of the Future Fund came from selling off Telstra - easy to get a budget surplus if you're selling off your most profitable assets.

              As you'll recall, Hockey's first move was to not just expand but completely abolish the debt ceiling. Seems increasing the deficit is only bad when Labor does it; now we're facing a massive $52 billion budget deficit (in just one year), and no shortage of deficits to come. This is despite slashing health & education (but increasing defence spending). Swan at least had a massive global economy crash to deal with - does Hockey have an excuse?

        Rubbish. Labor locked in massive unfunded spending on their way out the door and have left the incoming government to pay for it all.

    I love Australia but after traveling abroad the whole place is becoming quickly too expensive and strict on peoples freedom in general. too many rules and laws in forced in my oppinion. We call it the nanny state in SA now

      Really? Care to tell us one little thing that impinges on your ability to live your life? Because I find the State intrudes upon my freedom far less than society in general. e.g. Peer group pressure is a far greater restrictor of our freedom - the spectre of becoming a social pariah is far more real than that of being arrested or imprisoned for pretty much every Australian. Don't believe me? Then forego all personal grooming for a year, including bathing/showering/washing, and see how many friends you have left at the end of it (and see how long your job lasts).

        I can tell you, the fact that the government has no desire to help it citizen maintain a financially healthy lifestyle in terms of housing affordability and cost of living, they would rather make money of exporting it, they are on the path to ruining tertiary education by increasing fees and interest on loans, the absurd taxes and fees the government has in place without providing any justification as to why we pay certain taxes and fees and what that money is being used for. just because you can live your life, doesn't mean we can't aspire to a better one.

    "...the idea of a free and open internet ". Whose idea is that? Why would we want it? We don't have a "free and open" anything else in our lives, why would anyone think the internet would, or should, be any different? OK, paedophiles probably love it, as do cyber-bullies, criminals and terrorists, but for the average, law abiding Australian, I would think some oversight and legal restrictions might be seen as a good thing.

    Oh, but I'm forgetting that you want to continue to be able to steal copyrighted music, TV and films without fear of being brought to account for your illegal and immoral actions. Carry on, then.

      "...the idea of a free and open internet ". Whose idea is that? Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the basis of the world wide web) - and he still wants it to be free
      Why would we want it? Who would want an information resource that was generally available to everyone, equally?? Who wouldn't want it (Politicians, corporations)

      I'm sure there should be a 'Law' similar to Godwins law, where when you justify the erosion of personal security & civil liberties because [paedophiles/bikies/hackers/pirates/drug dealers/terrorist - insert which everyone is most effective]

      I am a law abiding Australian adult who doesn't pirate (but I love me some online viewing) with kids, and have enjoyed being online since dial up BBS's and i think some oversight and legal restrictions on the internet made by technologically and ideological morons is probably the worst thing possible - and the only reason average australians aren't up in arms about this is because they really don't understand the implications yet

        Are you also up in arms about speed limits, CCTV in public places and movie classification or having to pay for fuel/water/electricity?
        It's all pretty much in the same boat.
        We regulate almost everything else (for better or worse) why is the internet any different.

        I'm not swinging one way or the other here, I'm interested in why you think the internet is except from any form of regulation and why that's different to anything else in our society.
        We are a civilized society because of laws and regulations just like these.

          If it was regulation that was appropriate I wouldn't have a problem with it - unfortunately the government has already shown us their motivation is to protect corporate interests rather than individuals.
          I don't think the rest really compares. Speeding fines - while appropriate seems to be out of hand at the moment, CCTV in public places? - when its like england where you almost have a camera per person seems over the top. Paying for fuel/water/electricity? thats just silly.

          I don't think it should be exempt - I just don't think the Government will do it properly - Like when Youtube introduced the policy where you could get videos taken down because you claimed ownership without having to prove it - they now will work towards the internet filter they always wanted

          There is a large difference between the regulations you used as example, and the internet. The internet is a communications medium.. A better comparison would be the regulation of phone calls, and the government having control over what you do and do not discuss with your friends and family. If you think that's hyperbole, have a look at how similar "internet filtering" laws have been used in the UK in recent years.

          If you're not a "techie", try applying these 'solutions' to telephony to grasp how we feel. How about an opt out content filter for your phone that requires a call to your provider to inform them of your plans to have an 'adult' conversation with your partner? How about giving the government the ability to stop any phone calls or discussions on a morally contentious issues (as determined by them)? Keep in mind that books prior to the 1980s were frequently banned for discussing these morally contentious issues (human sexuality as an example). The government has no place dictating morality beyond enforcing the law.

          Wow. It's funny when people criticise parts of something they're all like "You're anti-protection!" "You hate regulation in all forms!" Which, i think it's worth admitting is a bunch of bullshit hyperbole

      If you really think that the only benefits to a free and open internet are for illegal activities then you should go and join your friends in parliament.

      So your ok with your privacy slowly been chipped away at and having people who barely understand what the internet is store your personal data securely? You think this is about copy write material, do you honestly believe that? None of these legislations will stop people pirating material and getting away with it. I personally do not steal music, TV or films, I pay for everything, but I can still see that we are heading in the wrong direction.

      Oh, but I'm forgetting that you want to continue to be able to steal copyrighted music, TV and films without fear of being brought to account for your illegal and immoral actions. Carry on, then.

      And you want to continue beating kittens with mallets. Because you do that. Squish kitties, that is. Everyone who agrees with your argument is cruel to cute animals. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    Jacob Appelbaum sums up the bigger picture in many of his talks;

    Resisting the Surveillance State: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOiFgUj9bWI
    Espionage, Spying, Assange: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_RozM88ZO4
    People Think they're Exempt: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyT7yzap1Wc

    Must watch videos for those who want to be up to date;

    Through a Prism Darkly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMwPe2KqYn4&list=UUG4QMB95FR6Df6XdQwn8gSg&index=63

    To Protect & Infect Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vILAlhwUgIU&index=61&list=UUG4QMB95FR6Df6XdQwn8gSg

    I only read the first point But i am siding with the government and not Facebook and Google. The government wants to add in protection for kids, Facebook and Google see it as potentially driving kids to other site and not their own, This is the only reason i can see why they are complaining about this. Facebook and Google are working with their own agenda and its not always in the public's interests.

      They don't want to add in protection for kids, they want to get a soundbite to make it seem as if they are doing it. If they really wanted to do it, they would have done some research and realised that their plan is completely doomed to failure and would only make the situation worse.

        Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

        Just because they are making stupid decisions without proper research doesn't mean they're out to get us. If anything we have to help them make the decisions properly instead of sharpening pitchforks.

          There's nothing wrong with keeping your pitchfork in good condition, just in case it's needed - especially with this band of idiots in charge of the country. In case you missed it - discussions of proposed policy on websites is part of how you help governments make good decisions. By discussing the merits and pitfalls of various approaches, and having a public debate.

          The problem is simply that the government isn't listening to the citizens. I don't know of a single person outside of law enforcement and movie studios who think that data retention or anti-piracy legislation is a good idea. Not only that, but polls consistently show that the FTTP NBN is the people's preferred method for internet delivery. So instead of a reasoned and public debate, they charge ahead blindly with their fingers in their ears, shouting "LA LA LA I can't hear you" without any real form of consultation.

          It's not that they're stupid. Instead, they're driven entirely by ideology, which is far more dangerous.

      Assuming this plan is effective (which I doubt)
      The summation of your opinion is that you think it's a good thing that kids will move to sites that aren't governed by these powers?? (As far as I'm aware, kids have already moved from FB)

      Last edited 03/12/14 1:10 pm

      Kids moving to sites that are not protected is not what i want, I am just saying that Facebook and Google are not the protective angels they are trying to make out to be, They have lets the bullying happened and have done nothing about it. I don't use Facebook but read a lot of the comments on you tube and there are plenty of people that should be banned from commenting on that site.

      If the governments plan is not going to work then do you have suggestions on what would work?

      I for one do not think what the government is doing will help anything but we cant just stand around pretending that the Internet is a safe place for everyone. I do believe that their needs to be laws to stop online bullying.

        The reason why Google & Facebook are against these sort of restrictions is because they are like using a sledgehammer to open an egg. Politicians have a habit of going too far, or not drafting legislation that has 'exploits' for unscrupulous people or corporations to enjoy.

        I have a plan for the better management of Kids experience on the internet which involves the people most concerned about it - Parents!

        As a parent, I am responsible for the upbringing of my kids, and would prefer a world where we minimise politics in of parenting. I grew up with computers (early adopter) and i'm sick of parents complaining "I can't control my kids on video games/internet etc" - Its easier to manage technology than the many other things kids can get up to

        So heres the plan. The Government can help parents understand what they can do to protect their kids - offer advice websites, free website blocking software (cheaper than nationally blocking content), encourage community leaders to communicate their ways to achieve this

        So Religious groups can provide their own ideas about what their worshippers can see, parenting groups can have shared ideals & guidelines, and the individual can make the choice of having any restriction or none. As kids grow up and emerge from their developmental cocoon, they can then choose to embrace or throw off the restrictions that their parents imposed upon them, as they can dal with an unrestricted internet with an adult mind.

        - Treat adults as adults who can make their own decisions on what they can or won't see
        - Changing the structure of the internet will inevitably be for corporate interests over the individuals
        - The Government is crap with technological policies - perhaps they should do their job and do more to hear the voice of their constituents and provide answers to their concerns
        - Parental controls are readily available but not used enough because parents don't know/don't understand/don't have support of people who do understand them

        I know this method works because I have used my personal internet blocking policy (don't go to sites that people tell you to go to) to avoid seeing what can't be for some time (still haven't seen 2girls1cup etc)

        we are never going to get again something like the internet we have - lets not break it because we can't understand it or control ourselves & people we are responsible for

    "Rights-holders" (aka large American movie studios) will soon have more rights in the courts than Australian citizens, organisations and governments. The Abbot Gov is finalising the TPP with the US which will allow American corporations to sue Australian governments for breaches of the treaty terms. Look forward to foreign minering corps cashing in and state governments being bankrupted by News Ltd/Time Warner/et al.

      and yet with all the political campaigning, the TPP was never mentioned (as usual)

      Oh thats right - because it was originally negotiated under a Labor government

    Bit of a First World Problem. Yes, Internet sucks and wont be a solution any time soon but considering what really is a problem in a country concerning the goverment. Not many people in other countries would say its their internet. You should really travel outside the box of Australia to see this. Want the Simple truth of how i see Australia from many years of travelling and living in other places.
    Australia is a Declining Country.

      Actually in terms of internet connectivity we are worse than most third world countries

        um... right... maybe you should look at the average speed reports again per country... won't find many 3rd world countries close to our max or average speeds... get some facts, then come back and write something... then you don't look uneducated.

      Wow, so insightful bro. Way to like, put it all in perspective. This guy's like... Been .... Places and it's different....

      I guess women shouldn't fight for equality because they've got it so much worse elsewhere, right?

        Yep, been places, It changes your view on many things. The places you visit when you venture outside of the bubble.

        Last edited 04/12/14 5:14 pm

    If the government wants to help our children, they should start a royal commission into high end officials that are pedophiles that think they are untouchable.
    As for everything else, hopefully it won't pass just like everything else that Abbot wanted to get through. The sooner Australia gets another proper party to vote for, the better. Just having labor and liberals to vote for is killing Australia. Please don't mention the greens or the sex party. I mean a party full of professionals.

    It’s Generation X legislating for generation next, and it’s hopelessly out of touch.
    @lukehopewell it's still very much Baby Boomer legislation. Abbott, Brandis and Turnbull are all BBs. The main media mouth pieces supporting the Coaition's view point are generally all BBs (Jones, Price, etc). Hockey, Pyne, Conroy and Shorten only just scape in at the start of Gen X. Gen X has the unique position of having growing up in parallel with the rapid developments in IT and technology over the last 30-40 years. While not as completely enmeshed with technology as Gen Next, Gen X is far from being technophobes.

    Hey! I pay for the bandwidth, I will do with it as I choose. The electricity company doesn't tell me what I can and can't plug in to it, they just want to sell the juice. I guess I'll have to go to VPN and Piratebrowser and whatever else is needed to do the trick.....yeah!

    Last edited 03/12/14 2:53 pm

      The electricity company might not tell you how to use it but the government sure tells you that you can't electrocute people with it... There's heaps of regulation around the use and supply of electricity just like there is with every other service.
      How do you think police find drug labs.... they can look at things like average power consumption to detect hydroponics set ups for example.
      Why should the internet be any different?

        Most drug labs are found by neighbours reporting the smell and suspicious behaviour.

        You obviously don't know that illegal drug labs bypass power meters and steal the electricity right off the grid, making them harder to detect, especially if the area has a few shopping centres, schools, child care centres, office buildings or other high users of electricity.

        Unlike drugs, which can ruin lives, sharing files on the Internet has no such lasting consequences, despite what the copyright cartel might have you believe.

        The only people at risk from the rise of file sharing online are the leeches with no talent at all (ie anyone who works for a distribution company or "rights holder") who feed off the people who do have the talent, and give them absolutely nothing back in return.

        What the likes of EMI, Sony, BMG, Village Roadshow, Foxtel, and various others do SHOULD have been made illegal in the 1990s when internet file sharing was just starting to appear, but sadly, it wasn't.

        As the saying goes, there's an app for that, and it's called utorrent.

        Last edited 03/12/14 5:50 pm

          So maybe drug labs was a bad example but you completely missed my point. The internet is a utility. All the other utilities are regulated to some degree, why should the internet be any different?
          Open and free is great in theory but it simply never works in practice.
          It's not up to ISPs to enforce the law, it's up to the government. And this isn't even about piracy because that's a tiny non-issue. It's about all the other stuff like data retention and other illegal online activities.

          Last edited 04/12/14 8:29 am

            Anyone feel like this guy constantly paints the narrative in extreme terms? "Open and free" to this guy means no legislation whatsoever, which i'm pretty sure isn't a sentiment anyone here is expressing beyond jest. They're also comparing utilities and internet, claiming regulation is in place to a degree in other areas and has been proven beneficial. I'm not sure how this strange approach works for people who have nothing against legislation in general, just this particular example of it. It's interesting to see someone respond to different stances with identical arguments.

              Not sure which "this guy" you're referring to ... The main problem I have with this whole article is exactly that is does paint all these changes in extremes... The government totally going to use this for evil, there's no other point of view presented, there's no counter argument.

              All I'm doing is presenting the other side of the story and hopefully fueling intelligent discussion.

            You're right, the internet is a utility. It's not a good or a bad thing of itself - it's just a tool. And it should be regulated exactly like other utilities.

            The proposed data retention laws are akin to having your electricity company keeping records on what you use your electricity for. Or your water supply company recording how you use the water that comes out of the tap. And then to add insult to injury, they're going to raise the prices of your power and water to pay for the record-keeping too.

            Metadata has been shown in many studies to reveal a frightening amount of information about a subject. In most cases, the person can be identified, and their home address deduced, from metadata alone. Even if your personal activities are entirely legal, there's enough data in there to reveal all kinds of personal and potentially embarrassing information.

            And what's more, the government is going to suck up all this data and store it some place where (knowing how inept government IT departments are) it could potentially be stolen or manipulated by people with ill intent. The overwhelming consensus is that the data will end up on a cloud storage server somewhere in Asia. That sounds like a privacy nightmare to me.

    Let's put this into perspective:

    Tunisia, Sudan, and well the whole African continent in general
    Saudia Arabia
    United Arab Entremets

    All worse places to be online, and to live generally.

    Nobody is going to come hunt you down in Australia if you connect to a VPN and post negative thoughts about the government on twitter (or even if you voice them in your journalistic role, as Luke has done here).

    Let's get real, and get a VPN.

    The driving force here is the TPP. Neither party will vote against legislation that is working to implement the TPP. Leaked TPP reports already indicate that rights holder can sue the ISP, so the govt needs to change the law to enable that. Similarly that's why the labour party voted with the Libs against a permanent ban on super trawlers this week, as the TPP will enable foreign companies that want to do business here, such as take our fish stocks, the right to sue the govt for preventing access to our resources. That's already happening in Ecuador, where two gold companies are polluting local drinking waters with tailing directly dumped into the river. They want to cut down a rain forest and build a new mine and the govt is trying to stop them, due to a similar free trade agreement they are being sued.

    Lab and Lib will def bring in legislation to sue ISPs and whatever else is reqd to appease our American big corporate masters (like no generic drugs, endless drug patents etc)

      I really hope that's not the case. If it is, the next party that promises to tear up the TPP is a shoe in,

        Not really because smart people at polling booths are in short supply.

        ie Do you really think that if someone from the Greens got up and said "should we win, we will tear up the TPP" then suddenly we would have a Greens MP as PM?

        Unfortunately, most people vote how their parents or friends vote, because it's an obligation to them, not a right where they actually give serious thought to which tick goes into which box.

        Of intelligent adults, few actually know anything about the TPPs consequences.

        Australia hasn't signed the TPP yet anyway.

        Last edited 04/12/14 4:02 pm

          stop making me depressed! I like my little world of reasons.

    No Australian government has ever understood the internet. Mostly they see it as a threat and a haven for baddies of every description. They see it as the Wild West that needs controlling, policing and ultimately taxing.

    Every major retail industry is lobbying hard for them to do something to stop people buying more cheaply online. Every police, security and intelligence agency is telling them that it is full of criminals of the worst kind, and that all internet users are illegally downloading everything they can get their hands on. And they see all the media coverage of all the bad things that happen to people online (scams, bullying, etc.). They ignore the good stuff and the many benefits it brings to billions of people around the world. They ignore the reliance people and business have on a free internet, and they ignore the fact they use it themselves to provide information and services.

    Fortunately for most of us, they are still struggling to work out how to exert control - witness Brandis' clumsy efforts getting his head around metadata. But eventually, they will do something really bad, that will screw it up for the majority and push the costs up dramatically.

    The big question is how to stop all governments, not just Australia's, from screwing it up for everyone. The US, and its Five Eyes allies (including Australia), is hard at work spying, trying to ensure it knows everything about everybody everywhere, as its way of controlling the world, so we need to act quickly to stop them.

    Internet users globally need to work together to stop governments from interfering, from using fear tactics and suppression of human and civil rights to legislate control of the internet. Until such time, we will continue to lose the battle.

    we are blessed with stupid politictians.

      Dunno about blessed, we just need a few more Scott Ludlams andNick Xenophons, people with a moral compass and a sense of justice. I was happy to hear Glenn Lazarus on JJJ last night, seems like he gets it too.

      Why not legislate that every modem sold in Australia is able to log and easily display all the URLs viewed, Wingate/Winroute did all that years ago yet most modern modems still don't offer this feature. It won't stop messenger services / snap chat norp or VPNs but it would empower a lot more parents in helping teach their kids about what's an appropriate site to view.

    Spoke to my local member's office yesterday - the walking beehive - Bronwyn Bishop. They asked me to send an email with what I'd like to discuss and then they will set up some time to speak. 8 hours later I received a "this email could not be received" error message. It seems the government has bigger issues with the Internet than we can imagine... although I do wonder if this is a message they send out to anyone who might disagree with Bronwyn...

    One point you made is deceitful.

    The 25Mbs minimum is for the "coalition" scheme, and also is the minimum offering that you can choose when connected to FTTP from NBNco.

    100Mbs is the MAXIMUM offered by NBNco for FTTP connected customers. And if available to a customer under the "coalition" scheme it will also be the maximum they could choose (if they do not choose 25Mbs based on price).

    There is a lot of deliberate misinformation about how FTTP is capable of 1GBs or more ... maybe, but no one has ever got that because it is NOT being offered.

    Stop comparing the minimum of one with the maximum of the other, it's a good political advocacy ploy for those who don't think deeply, but maybe you should stick to journalism.

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