- Full interview: David Ramli's one-on-one with Stephen Conroy
Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, has promised the Australian public that a mandatory filter will never be brought in without a vote in Parliament.
Speaking to ARN in a one-on-one interview, Conroy said he did not think a ‘backdoor’ method of bringing in a filter existed.
“I think the only way we could do it is through Parliament,” he said. “I’m a democrat first and foremost. And I believe this is a debate that needs to be held on the floor.”
But Conroy also used the opportunity to hit out at GetUp! and its ad campaign claiming a filter would dramatically slow down Internet speeds as well as other filter critics.
“What you’ve seen is three major ISPs in this country announce they’re going to introduce [content filtering] voluntarily and I call on all of the other ISPs to introduce it,” he said. “It’s been introduced in many, many Western countries. 70-75 per cent of Australians are going to quickly discover there is no impact on Internet speed.
“Many Australians have been mislead about the impact…1/70th of a blink of an eye if you want to be an engineer, but that’s not a noticeable impact for an end-user…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.”
Despite the fact that the filter legislation is facing certain death in the Senate, Conroy was still committed to putting mandatory filtering legislation to the caucus by the end of the year.
“We’ve been going through a whole bunch of consultations,” he said. “I would hope that we can have a bill drafted towards the end of the year, given that we’ve got an election.
“It’ll certainly be before Parliament, so it’ll need to be done by the end of the year.”
Conroy’s comments come after speculation by filter opponents, including former Liberal Party leader, Malcolm Turnbull, that the Government could bring in a filter through non-parliamentary processes.
Others claimed the classification review set to be held later this year would offer the Government a platform to implement a mandatory filter without passing legislation.