The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has remained firm on its support for the proposed Internet filter despite numerous protests and campaigns held against the clean-feed.
Recent anti-filter actions including Stop the Filter rallies in major capital cities and the Great Australian Internet Blackout by the Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA), all generated modest success.
ACL has been a longstanding supporter of the filter and saw a clean-feed as a necessary tool to protect children from ‘inappropriate’ content.
ACL spokesperson, Glynis Quinlan, said the anti-filter movement had remained relatively stagnant and anti-filter sentiment was confined to a select number of groups.
“They’re really just talking to each other,” she said. “It doesn’t appear [their message] has touched the general public and society; it is kept to Internet civil libertarians and the people supporting it all appear to be the same.”
The ACL was heartened by the Federal Government’s commitment to filtering refused classification (RC) content online, despite anti-filter groups making their views known.
“There is a lot of scare mongering by the anti-filtering lobby and it is regretful to see that,” Quinlan said. “Hopefully, people and politicians can see past it to the real issues at state and it does seem to be the case.”
With the next Federal election creeping closer, the EFA has planned a last ditch effort to fight off the filter.
EFA chairman, Colin Jacobs, admits there has been a lack of concerted effort when it comes to anti-filter campaigns and action has been focused on technology savvy Internet users and not the general public.
“For that reason, we don’t think protest marches and rallies are liable to be extremely successful,” he said.
An Internet filter forum has been planned by the EFA on June 25 in Melbourne. The event aims to update the public on how far the filter plan has progressed and to put the positions of various political parties into context.
“A forum is a little low key,” Jacobs said. “Thought leaders in the space can attend to send a message to the wider sphere.”
While Greens Senator for Western Australia, Scott Ludlam, is attending as a panellist, representatives from the Labor and Liberal party are noticeably absent from the guest list.
Jacobs said the EFA has extended the invitation to the major parties but has yet to receive a response.
“[Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy’s] office probably wouldn’t be interested because they will perceive it as being a hostile arena,” he said.
The EFA and Senator Conroy have been at odds for some time with both criticising each other publicly.
Jacobs has high hopes for the upcoming forum after the success of the EFA’s recent Time to Tell Mum campaign, which encouraged people with technical knowledge to inform their mums about the Internet filtering policy.
So far, 42,000 people have honoured the program, according to the EFA.
Meanwhile, ACL has continued to run with its Keep IT Clean campaign urging the public to send emails to politicians to support the clean-feed.
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