Home > Uncategorized > Senator Ludlam: “The time for Australians to stand up is right now, and we are standing up.”

Senator Ludlam: “The time for Australians to stand up is right now, and we are standing up.”

This article originally posted at Stop the Filter.org.
By Andrew Middleton, House of Representatives Petition Coordinator

Greens Senator Scott Ludlam (pictured, image credit: David Howe) has given a conclusive rebuttal to comments made by the Labor Government’s Communications Minister Stephen Conroy on the Four Corners documentary, Access Denied, aired on the 10th of May, 2010. The documentary, still viewable online at ABC iView, reveals how an apparently well meaning attempt by [the Australian] government to protect children from video nasties on the net turned into a policy that critics say promotes censorship and reduces personal freedom.

During the documentary, the Communications Minister has the following pledge to the Australian public:

“If a majority of the Parliament in the future want to broaden the classification – meaning of material caught by the filter – well then, Australians should stand up and say ‘just a minute’, and I’ll be one of them.”

To which Senator Ludlam quoted and responded to, just two days later in the Senate:

“Of course, by that time it will be too late. That is the future of this filter: a majority of a future parliament, probably under pressure of some kind of moral panic-whatever that may be-broadening the filter to include a larger scope of banned material and Stephen Conroy standing there in the minority, saying, ‘Just a minute,’ shortly before losing the vote. Once the architecture is in place, the idea that future governments will not be tempted to expand its scope is impossible to entertain. The reasons are technical, as well as political.”

(Senator Ludlam’s full statement in the Senate can be read in transcript, or viewed as film)

This is an important distinction made by Senator Ludlam in why he opposes the mandatory ISP filtering plan, and it’s one that all reading this should consider carefully. Later in the Parliamentary statement, the Senator had this important message relating to Mr. Conroy’s pledge, which is worth emphasising:

“In terms of the minister’s comments about people standing up and saying no if future governments proposed to increase the scope, and saying that that would be the time for Australians to stand up: the time for Australians to stand up is right now, and we are standing up.

Scott Ludlam has good authority to speak as an Australian standing up on the issue of the Labor Govnerment’s mandatory web filtering proposal, having attended and spoke at both the December 2008 and March 2010 rallys held in Perth which were aimed at informing the public and expressing opposition to the proposal. Scott also regularly asks questions and makes statements in Parliamentary Question Time and Senate Hearing about the matter, along with making public statements on his blog and taking media interviews, as he happened to yesterday on the ABC’s Triple J program Hack.

Scott’s message to Australians in his May 12 Senate statement pre-empted the May 22nd National Day of Action, which occured in 3 locations around Australia on both sides of the continent. The campaign for these Days of Action were driven by the official anti-censorship paper petition addressed to the House of Representatives, which now has around 6500-7000 signatures penned in total with 4400 already received by Principal Petitioner Melissa Short. It will be presented to the House of Representatives and put on the public Hansard record on the 21st of June, 2010 with the  Australian Petitions Committee accepting signatures no later than the 11th of June, 2010. With this recent extended submission deadline, the decision has been made to ask concerned and active Australians to continue gathering signatures, and for them to be mailed to Melissa no later than Tuesday, the 8th of June. The earlier sent the better, so they can be checked & counted before submission.

Review of the May 22nd Day of Action

BRISBANE

The Brisbane Day of Action was the most successful from the day in terms of petition signatures, with a massive 461 signatures acquired in just 3 hours. The Sunshine State delivered a beautiful day for Mel Short, Matt Anderson, Tim Hunt, Gregor, Ben, Eris, Fritz, Shonika, & Warrick to setup tables, petitions, and paraphenalia at Central Station, Brisbane, and ask the public passing by if they’re aware of the Government’s proposal, and if they’d like to sign the petition. The last person mentioned in that list, Warrick Fraser, edited the following video from the Day of Action in Brisbane and many thanks to him for doing so:

Warrick was also good enough to take some photos on the day too. Here he is on the video camera:

Table setup with petitions and information sheets:

Josh Meney’s “Censor This!” poster displayed:

A big thanks must also go to Matt Anderson for funding the printed poster and the table, and generally putting in a big effort in organising and promoting the Event.

MELBOURNE

In Federation Square, Melbourne, a fascinating piece of street theatre was carried out by Nicolas Wheeler:

Nicolas was shortly asked to move on by the Victorian State police and did so, but this photograph is testament to a statement made about the inevitable possibility of legal freedoms being reduced under the mandatory ISP filter. There is video footage of the moving on of the display and attempted interview with Nic by media crew below. Afterwards, Nicolas was joined by other activists to gain petition signatures, and in all nearly 200 were gathered. A super effort and many thanks, Nick and co.!

PERTH

Despite the inclement weather overnight leading into the Saturday, Petition Coordinator Andrew Middleton, Julian, and Daniel Kruppa still managed to find a couple of hours in the afternoon to campaign for petition signatures out the front of Fremantle Town Hall. 37 signatures were garnered from the sparse Fremantle crowd, with many viabrant conversations being had with people from all walks of life. Those who were aware of the issue, had a good understanding of the problems associated with the proposed mandatory ISP filtering plan which was pleasing. In particular, an exchange with an English tourist, who despite not caring what happened in this country, was eventually turned around to signing the petition after agreeing with us that what occurs in our political landscape is highly likely to effect England’s political landscape, and vice-versa.

Next two Saturday’s complete Trifecta of Days of Action

In keeping with Scott Ludlam’s urgings for Australians to stand up, locations this Saturday and next Saturday (May 29th, June 5th) around Australia will again have grassroots activists present with petitions in hand, and the more people & signatures the better. So if you’re interested in just coming down and signing the petition, joining a posted location below and help get more signatures, or starting an Action in your local area that you’d like promoting on this website and/or on social networking sites, please take note of the location details posted below and get in contact with the following organisers!

PRINCIPAL PETITIONER & BRISBANE ORGANISER:
Melissa Short

SEE PETITION CAMPAIGNING IN BRISBANE ON THE 6TH OF JUNE, IN THIS SHORT VIDEO:

Meetup.com Calander page:
http://www.meetup.com/WeAreChangeBrisbane/calendar/13669591/

ARTICLE AUTHOR, PETITION COORDINATOR & PERTH ORGANISER:
Andrew Middleton, wearechangewa@hotmail.com

Where: Outside the entrance to the Alexander Library, Perth Cultural Center (25 Francis Street, Perth)
When: Saturday, June 5, 11:30am – 2pm
Bring: Copies of the 14-box petition, available here. A clipboard and a pen (black or blue)

Facebook Event page:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=125091344181741

Posted links on this article: (in order of appearance)

  1. 10 May 2010: Access Denied, ABC "Four Corners" documentary still viewable online at ABC iView
  2. 12 May 2010: Senator Ludlam's full statement to the Senate can be read in transcript, or viewed as film
  3. December 2008 and March 2010 Perth rallys against internet censorship
  4. 3 May 2010: Senate answers shed some more light on filter, Electronic Frontiers Australia
  5. 26 May 2010: The Hitchhiker's Guide to Net Filtering, Senator Scott Ludlam
  6. 25 May 2010: Senator Ludlam interview on the Hack program, ABC Radio
  7. Ongoing until June: Official anti-censorship paper petition addressed to the House of Representatives homepage
  8. 22 May 2010: Video footage of Brisbane's Day of Action
  9. Ongoing until June: Official anti-censorship paper petition addressed to the House of Representatives printout
  10. April 2010: "Censor This!" poster produced by Josh Meney
  11. 22 May 2010, Federation Square Melbourne: Internet Censorship Strangles Freedom video
  12. 6 June 2010: Anti-Internet Censorship Petition Campaigning Video - Fortitude Valley Mall, Brisbane
  13. 30 May 2010: Meetup.com calander post for Brisbane's Day of Action this Saturday Sunday
  14. 5 June 2010: Facebook Event page for Perth's Day of Action this Saturday.
The personal views, beliefs and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of “Stop the Filter” or “WeAreChange Western Australia” as a whole.
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