Much has been written and said about the Labor Government’s plan to censor Australia’s Internet. The plan, which involves a Government blacklist of web sites that all Australian Internet service providers would be required to block, has been criticised for its ineffectiveness, free speech risks and technical difficulties. However, while there has been some moralising, there has been little serious debate about the filter’s moral implications.
The Prime Minister injected morality into the discussion on Tuesday when answering a skeptical question about the filter, saying that the Internet may present technical challenges to censorship, “but the underpinning moral question, I think, is exactly the same.” If it’s not allowed in a cinema, she argued, the change in medium does not change the underpinning moral issue. But what, then, exactly is the moral question?