Greens to block net filter in election lead up

Senator Scott Ludlam says the Greens will knock the net filter on its head so the government "can go back and have a think about it"

The Greens will look to block the Federal Government's controversial internet filter in the lead up to the election.

Speaking at the Kickstart forum on the Gold Coast, WA Senator Scott Ludlam praised the Labor government for its bold stance on ICT issues such as the National Broadband Network (NBN), but questioned the viability of the filter in light of widespread condemnation from the industry and public alike.

"We're looking at ways of knocking it on the head for the time being so the government can go back and have a think about it," he told journalists during a panel debate.

"I think they probably need to think again on that and work more collaboratively with industry and child protection organisations.Otherwise, I would like to see this kind of boldness in climate change and public transport. We seem to be in an age of risk averse government and this is one area where they have taken some risks."

Ludlam admitted the internet has it's 'dark corners' but said the internet filter required more consideration and consultation. He also criticised the opposition for its lack of leadership on ICT issues.

"In the run up to the election the opposition is playing a tactically 'block everything game'. We are seeing a destructive move by opposition. To block everything and ask what did you achieve is quite a cynical tactic," he said.

"I am going predict right now that the net filter will probably not be on the table and the broadband network is going to struggle."

Opinions varied wildly during the debate, which included the executive director of the competitive carriers coalition (CCC), David Formam, the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) chief, Ian Birks and John Linton, the cheif executive officer of ISP, Exetel.

Linton is a loud and furious critic of the NBN.

"I think it's a load of crap," he declared. "Does anyone want a $43 billion surprise? It's had absolutely no thought behind it whatsoever..."

Formam said the primary reason the CCC applauds the network is for its potential to create a level playing field within the industry.

"The government made a public policy call," he said. "That's a matter for them…the important issue for us was that the structure of the new investment remains a wholesale investment."

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