This afternoon I banged out about 600 odd words on the Coalition costings – they are up at The Conversation (please click through).
The biggest problem with the costings, to my mind, is the $1 million set aside for the National Commission of Audit. This is the promised audit of all government spending that the Coalition have promised will be established to do a thorough analysis of all government spending. They are just not serious if all that is being budgeted is $1 million. The Henry Tax Review had a budget of $10 million.
To my mind the National Commission of Audit is one of the most important initiatives the Coalition has proposed – they will need to spend much more than $1 million to get it done.
It turns out, however, that the costings included a trojan – the internet filter is back.
In a policy hidden on page 7 of a document entitled “The Coalition’s Policy to Enhance Online Safety for Children”, the Coalition has said it will adopt the UK-style policy of internet filtering.
That means households would automatically have adult content filters applied on their internet and phone services, but would have to opt out if they want the unfiltered version of the net.
$10 million the Coalition intends to spend on monitoring and censoring what Australians can access on the internet.
This is absolutely disgraceful. As I have be warning people in public and private, we’re going to have to keep a very close eye on the Liberals to ensure they maintain their promises on free speech, and that their latest proposal to censor the internet fails.
Update: Liberals back-pedalling already.
The policy which was issued today was poorly worded and incorrectly indicated that the Coalition supported an “opt out” system of internet filtering for both mobile and fixed line services. That is not our policy and never has been.
The correct position is that the Coalition will encourage mobile phone and internet service providers to make available software which parents can choose to install on their own devices to protect their children from inappropriate material.
As a gesture of good faith the entire proposal should be dropped and the $10 million allocated to future tax cuts.