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Australia, Strangled by Censors


Here in our gloriously free and oh so safe country, Australia, yet another Government is working hard to ensure our happiness, safety and contentment.

Having just been told that our internet is going to be fixed so that we are no longer menaced by internet  nasties that our guardians don’t like we now have a Governmental intent to change the laws on what is and isn’t art.

The New South Wales Government has released recommendations to scrap the defence of ‘artistic merit’ in relation to child pornography.

It is part of a report compiled by police, the DPP and Legal Aid in an attempt to make a clear legal distinction between pornography and art.

So now we will have artistic merit determined by Government Committee.

Just like Germany and Russia during the 1930’s and Eastern Europe in the 1950’s and 1960’s what is considered acceptable in architecture, music, theatre and the visual arts is soon to be decided for us by those who were once our elected representatives.

The talent of Bill Henson has once again been the excuse for this brutal slap in the face for Australia’s arts community.

Regardless of the fact that this law allegedly can only come into force once an item has been declared “Child Pornography”, once that decision is made, apparently by the Director of Public Prosecutions, then “artistic merit” goes out the window and is not even considered. Not a good start for any defense to a crime which is simply “In the eye of the beholder”. There is no objective way of defining “pornography” whether adult or child.

This new law suddenly appears just weeks after Senator Conroy announced in Federal Parliament that the “Great Firewall of Australia” will be fully operational by 2011. If that measure goes ahead in its current form then Australia will be off the internet map. All the little special interest groups will have their special interest desires met.

The “Pro-family” groups will have total censorship of pornography. Not just the “Kiddie Porn” of which those of us who oppose this measure are assumed (by Senator Conroy) to be devotees but adult porn which is currently legal under Australia’s censorship laws. They will also be able to block all sites which mention voluntary euthanasia, safe drug use or abortion.

The “anti-gambling” groups will have succeeded in banning, in Australia, all gambling sites on the internet.

The Religious Right will get their jollies because atheist websites and “alternative religion” websites will be banned, blocked or shut down.

How long will it be until a political party takes advantage of being in office to ban all sites promoting their opposition?

The “Clean Feed Filter” which is going to be used is almost exactly the same as the filter the Chinese Government, a noted liberal regime, was going to use but then decided that it was unworkable.

So, between these two arms of Government, it seems we Aussies are in for – I was going to say, “An interesting time.” In reality we will regress to the drabness of the Puritan regimes in both England and the then new Americas.

The art work comes from, in order; Mike Fitz, Bill Henson, Phil’s Phun, I Am your God.
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