Labor has abandoned its controversial plan to introduce an
internet filter, but is banning all websites related to child
The federal government will use its powers under the
Telecommunications Act to block hundreds of child abuse
websites already identified by Interpol, Fairfax reports.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said blocking these
websites met "community expectations and fulfils the
government's commitment to preventing Australian internet
users from accessing child abuse material online".
"Given this successful outcome, the government has no need to
proceed with mandatory filtering legislation," he said.
Kevin Rudd promised to introduce an internet filter when
Labor won office at the 2007 election, but it was always a
Internet lobbyists argued against censorship and predicted a
filter would be ineffective and would slow internet speeds.
Both the coalition and the Greens opposed the plan.
The internet filter would have required Australian internet
service providers to block overseas-hosted "refused
classification" material as identified by the Australian
Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
The list of banned websites would have been based on public
complaints to ACMA.
Fairfax said Internet Industry Association chief executive
Peter Lee welcomed the decision as "a positive step".
But the Australian Christian Lobby insisted a filter was
needed because "it is important to prevent unwanted access to
"We must protect our children from forming unhealthy
attitudes towards women and sex," lobby spokeswoman Wendy