With the Australian government delaying introduction of its internet censorship legislation, there’s been some speculation that the policy may be dead. The more likely scenario however is that the policy has simply gone in to hibernation until after the Federal election. Despite the media and blogosphere cries of “backflip”, this is a smart tactical move.
Tactically, delaying the legislation makes sense. Pushing it through before the election risks continuing the distracting public feud with the government’s critics. Delaying until after the election gives the ALP a range of options.
Should the ALP fail to hold a majority in the Senate following the next election, ‘net censorship may once again become a political bargaining chip. Family First are strong supporters of mandatory ISP filtering, and have previously called for the scope of the filter to be widened. By contrast, The Green’s remain strongly opposed to the policy and are calling for it to be scrapped altogether. Depending on which minor (or major) party the ALP wishes to woo, internet filtering may go ahead in it’s current form (Family First?) or be modified in some form to make it more tolerable (The Greens?, Coalition?).
Holding this controversial policy over until after the next election is a smart move by the ALP and makes the Senate vote at the next election even more interesting for both supporters and opponents of this policy.