Aussie net filtering plan looks shaky

Although the Australian cabinet might have approved a radical plan to censor the Internet and turn the former penal colony into a cyber-police state, it is still far from being law.

Indications are that there is a lack of backing for the idea outside the Labor Party.

Backbench Mps on both sides of politics are opposed to the idea and could stop Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy dead in his tracks.

Four young Liberal MPs, Simon Birmingham, Alex Hawke, Michael Johnson and Jamie Briggs, are leading the charge against the filter within the Coalition, while the Labor senator Kate Lundy is putting a case to her colleagues in favour of an optional filter.

Senator Conroy’s biggest challenge will be next month when he has to sell the idea to MPs in his own party. Indications are that this will be tough as many in marginal seats don’t want to do anything that will miff anyone.

If it does go to the vote in Parliament, the Greens have indicated their opposition so it is likely that the Coalition will decide the filter’s fate. The Liberals are split on the issue usually on the basis of age. There is a strong feeling that if it stops kiddie porn then it is ok.

Bizarrely, McNair Ingenuity research released  recently found support for the filter running at 80 per cent. This seems to indicate that Conway has won when it comes to convincing that sacrificing their freedom for the greater good is is wise.  Conway could use this poll to claim that the filter would actually be popular.