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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

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December 12, 2008

Or as Mark over at LP has it, affiliations.

Via Mark, via Jason Soon at Catallaxy and in relation to Conroy's clean feed, it's all starting to sound like an elaborate conspiracy.

Jason's not particularly fond of Hamilton, and neither is Kerry Miller, who marks him down in her Spiked article as a communitarian.
I do wish people would stop allocating Hamilton to the Left. Or anywhere for that matter. It's like locating Barnaby Joyce in the coalition.

Miller thinks Hamilton has influence with the Rudd Government, and says

Hamilton and the Australia Institute began their campaign for internet censorship back in 2003, with a deliberately targeted media splash, based on some rather spurious research supposedly documenting the evil effects of porn on Australian youth

Another odd hybrid, pro-life feminist (?) with strong religious connections, Melinda Tankard Reist, is also a deft hand at deploying the odd statistical malfunction in support of the clean feed. Though she's a little more subtle than Hamilton. Tankard Reist apparently spent a lot of her training time with Brian Harradine, although this strange bio gives Freudian credit to a girlhood tragedy involving a horse. That's not the sort of thing you want to be tangling with in a pornography debate.

Guy Rundle doesn't try to attach the authoritarianism of the clean feed with an ideological Left, rather he works with the strange history of the Labor Party's associations with religious groups and the current public fixation with child pornography. We're now at the point where Bart Simpson can land you in trouble.


Furthermore, Conroy is from the conservative Catholic right wing of Australian Labor, a group whose politics have always been defined by social repression in the interests of ‘ordinary people’. The faction departed Labor for 25 years (after which many members of the faction returned to the Labor Party), forming the Democratic Labor Party and allying with the Liberal Party to keep Labor from power for two decades. Based in large labour groups such as the Shop Assistants Union, the faction has spent decades styming censorship abolition, abortion law reform, equal rights for women, and the decriminalisation of homosexuality, among other things. Effectively it is a right-wing party within a Labor host, its politics closer to Italy’s post-fascist Social Alliance party than anything emerging from an emancipatory working-class tradition.

So that's where Conroy came from. Although the next bit doesn't doesn't seem to square:

Though its socially repressive agenda was subdued under the centrist Labor governments of the 1980s, the Catholic right got a new opportunity to assert its power with the election of a senator from a Christian conservative start-up party called ‘Family First’. Though Senator Steve Fielding gained only 1.3 per cent of the vote in the proportional system which governs the Australian Senate, he had enough preference deals to get himself elected. Together with an anti-gambling single issue senator and four Green senators, Fielding now has the capacity to help Labor muster sufficient votes to pass legislation.

True, Labor need Fielding in the Senate, but that doesn't necessarily mean they need Conroy in Communications with his sticky little fingers on our conduit to the digital economy. It doesn't mean they have to get all Book of Revelations on us. Anyone half articulate could have been charged with the Fielding-sitting job.

Rundle ends on an optimistic note:

What Conroy and Co. don’t seem to have counted on is the degree of opposition that the proposal would generate, and the mass protest movement it would rapidly give rise to, with a broad coalition of activists, cyber and otherwise, attacking it on all fronts, from demonstrations of how utterly random and inadequate filters are, to plain old street protests against the proposal. There’s something amusingly ironic in this – the Rudd government was so eager to summon up the idea of a protean and demonic internet reaching into all areas of life with its dark materials that it didn’t understand that the power of the net was chiefly invested in the added power to create new grassroots initiatives through better, multi-levelled co-ordination and multiple fronts of attack.

I don't know that the rise was all that rapid. Miller blames Lefty bloggers for the slow start, saying the proposal "has remained largely unmentioned by the major ‘left’ blogs in Australia, which have tended to oppose the censorship scheme anaemically, at best." I'd argue that very few of any political leaning paid much attention. After all, we've recently been smothered with a global financial meltdown, an American election and a terrorist attack in Mumbai.

It doesn't strike me as an issue which belongs to either Left or Right, Liberal or Labor. Although it would be nice to know where the Libs stand on it. What does Barnaby think? Barnaby's thoughts seem to be their overriding concern these days. And the polls.

Come on Malcolm. Play the game. Here's a suggestion:

The Rudd Government's clean feed will not disrupt child pornography networks. This government is using child pornography as an excuse to introduce draconian legislation on working families, which is a disgrace. In these times of economic turmoil blah, blah, blah.

See if you can get a bounce out of the increasing numbers of broadbanders.

| Posted by Lyn at 3:00 PM | | Comments (5)


Spot on, Lyn.
Wouldn't have changed a word.

A real suprise from the conservative SA Senator Cory Bernardi

Thanks Paul.

Interesting Nan. Bernardi says the proposed scheme lacks detail, which is true as far as what could be blacklisted goes, but you don't need any more detail than we already have to know it's a dog of an idea.

I left a comment telling him he's fab, even if he is conservative. And laughing at the idea that web pages could be rated ACMA-style. As if. You'd have to employ the whole planet just to keep an eye on it.

He says filtering advocates want such a thing, which strongly suggests they know squat about the net. It gets loonier by the minute.

"It doesn't strike me as an issue that belongs to Left or Right, Labor or Liberal."
No, we all potentially suffer from trends and tendencies to do with big capitalist media and press and the obscuring of truths and realities we need to be aware of, from which we can make informed decisions.
Have just come from the Age online, where they describe the sordid truth behind the sacking of Murdoch tabloid Herald Sun editor Bruce Guthrie.
He "displeased" Murdoch's sister, who is a friend of the retiring Victorian Police Commissioner, Christine Nixon. He had the temerity to run a story concerning a corporate freebee holiday to California extended to Commissioner Nixon, who apparently had no trouble availing herself of this peculiar gifting. The coverage was compounded by critical comment content, apparently involving snouts in the trough type stuff, in an editorial.
Nothing in the Murdoch press recently, about the story and its relationship to Guthries sacking, of course!
Should we not know what the people who run our lives are really like?
Although Murdochs eagerly subjected Fairfax to intense scrutiny a week ago when CEO and editorial heads rolled like mice there, an event Fairfax in turn remained remarkably circumspect in explicating upon...
To what extent are some our politicians in bed with these sorts of people?
Does this extend to politicians enabling strategic "situational goods" thru studied erosion of public broadcasting alternatives, for unnamed "mates" in return for favourable editorial treatment at the expense of our fragile democracy?
But these same people plead with us to "trust" them, at the very moment they pick our very brains to figure new ways to trick us.
All the way back to feudalism...

I understand that story about Guthrie is a rumour. That's not to say it's not true of course, but it's probably best to be cautious about what the papers are saying about one anothers' difficulties and embarrassments right now. They're all desperate.

Along with Obama, the Rudd Government appears to be seeking to talk to people around and over the top of the media. Blogging is part of that.

It used to be that politicians had to do whatever media magnates wanted or be crucified. I sense that's changing slowly.