Net filter unworkable, games a threat to human liberty: Hockey

Governments can't be trusted with an Internet censor

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey

Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey has slammed the Federal Government’s proposal for mandatory ISP-level filtering.

In a presentation at Melbourne’s Grattan Institute, Hockey said the proposal opened the possibility of function-creep whereby future governments could censor additional material once the filter infrastructure was in place.

“What we have in the Government’s Internet filtering proposals is a scheme that is likely to be unworkable in practice,” Hockey said to an audience at the think-tank.

“But, more perniciously, it is a scheme that will create the infrastructure for government censorship on a broader scale. Protecting liberty is about protecting freedoms against both known and future threats.

“Some may argue that we can surely trust a democratically-elected government in Australia to never try to introduce more wide-spread censorship. I am not so sure,” Hockey said, adding that responsibility for child protection on the Internet lay with parents, “not the government”.

Hockey also weighed-in on the push for a R18+ classification for games arguing that violent games instilled violence in users.

“What concerns me about these games is that they, at the most benign end, make us immune to violence or, worse still, encourage us to think of violence as a legitimate tool,” Hockey said.

“Fundamentally, the loss of respect for human life and dignity that these games encourage becomes a threat to the respect we have for individual liberty.”

“In contrast to watching a violent movie on the odd occasion, spending hours embedded in a game – actually “pulling the trigger” and “killing” virtual people that are now so realistic that fantasy and reality have merged – can rewire our brain,” he claimed, referring to comments from Macquarie University Psychologist Dr Wayne Warburton.

Hockey's full speech can be read in full online

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