Conroy reaffirms commitment to filter

But Greens senator, Scott Ludlam, remains doubtful the legislation will see light before the next election

Communications minister, Stephen Conroy, has reaffirmed his commitment to the Federal Government's mandatory ISP-level filtering scheme, maintaining the government would stick by delivering its election promise.

"We said we'd bring the legislation forward," Conroy told Computerworld Australia this week. "We'd have to have finished all of the consultations that have taken place, that's taking a little bit longer than we'd hoped."

According to Conroy, the filter legislation will be introduced into Federal Parliament in the second half of this year. However, as Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, has promised an election "within coming months", an election could be called to occur before sitting recommences on 24 August.

"The timing of the election is something that ultimately the Prime Minister, Julia, will ultimately decide on," he said.

Conroy denied possible amendments to filter legislation and refused to consider changing it to an opt-in model, despite recent comments made by fellow Labor senator, Kate Lundy.

The communications minister also denied being involved in negotiations about a data retention regime.

Despite Conroy's commitment to see the filter legislation passed through Parliament, Greens senator, Scott Ludlam, remains defiant the Government won't introduce the bill before the next election.

"I think it would be remarkably brazen if they were to bring it into the Parliament," Ludlam told audiences at the Electronic Frontiers Australia's (EFA) "Wild West Filter Forum" held in Melbourne last week.

"One of the [Labor] ministers acknowledged they've got problems at the accountability end of managing how on earth you treat a medium like the Internet as though it were, as was kind of suggested, a newsagent," Ludlum said. "I think the industry are telling them, as they've been telling them for a number of years, that what they want to do is technically, formidably difficult."

Ludlum also called the legislation "politically toxic", something the Labor party was unlikely to push ahead of a Federal election that could see the Gillard government tossed out. However, though the Greens remain convinced their campaign is "on the verge of a win", the party has hedged its bets on replacing Family First senator, Steve Fielding, in the Senate with its own candiate, Richard Di Natale.

When asked about Ludlum's comments, Conroy simply denied the legislation had been dropped.

"Just because Scott Ludlam says it's been shelved, doesn't mean its true," Conroy said.

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