The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, has conceded the proposed mandatory Internet filtering scheme is not perfect but is adamant about its role to reduce inappropriate content in cyberspace.
A viewer on Seven Networks’ Sunrise program asked the Prime Minister why the Government insisted on implementing “a policy which will simply fail in its objective to protect the children?”.
The ISP-level filtering is intended to weed out refused classification material including content depicting acts of child abuse, acts of sexual abuse against children.
“We have a very hard-line approach on this,” Rudd said. “Is any system perfect in dealing with [inappropriate material]? No, but is it our challenge to reduce it to the absolute extent possible? Yes.”
The Prime Minister claimed filtering the “awful material” online is no different to regulations imposed on movies and videos.
“We are seeking to do the same when it comes to this awful material which I think mums and dads watching this program would be worried about,” he said.
The viewer also questioned whether the Internet clean-feed would slow Internet speeds and impact business productivity of small businesses that rely on online activities.
The Prime Minister cited results of the Internet filter trial conducted last year. They showed very minor effects on Internet speeds but implied it was a sacrifice that needed to be made to protect Australian children.
“I will not stand idly by and allow this sort of muck to be put online without making an effort to reduce it given the enormous impact it has on the safety of children,” he said. "I think this stuff is filthy, I can’t stand it and I think these are the right measures.
“If you’re running a business, we are pro-Internet but we don’t make any apologies for this.”