FamilyVoice call to expand ISP filters

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FamilyVoice call to expand ISP filters

Row flares up in Adelaide.

Christian lobby FamilyVoice Australia has called for the Government's delayed internet filter proposal to be introduced as soon as possible with even more restrictions than first planned.

At a Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety hearing in Adelaide yesterday, FamilyVoice argued that mandatory filtering was essential to assisting parents and kids cope with harmful content on the net.

FamilyVoice (formerly the Festival of Light) proposed a strong interventionist approach for net filtering by ISPs.

Apart from calling for internet filtering to be expedited, FamilyVoice recommended that access to suicide-related material be prohibited and offshore gambling "be made more difficult".

It also recommended the filter blacklist include suicide online gaming and refused classification games and that "family friendly ISPs" filter all MA15+, R18+ and X18+ material [pdf].

The recommendations were challenged by Liberal MP Alexander Hawke.

"You are looking for a technological solution - which I think is a bit of a Nirvana," Hawke told FamilyVoice research officer Roslyn Phillips.

"Why have you bypassed the option of more resources for law enforcement to target criminal behaviour - especially in relation to children online, which I think has merit?"

"We are not saying there ought not be education, but as with swimming pools there are laws requiring fences and those fences have saved many lives," Phillips responded.

"The fence alone does not protect your child, you need to teach your child to swim.

"What we find worrying is that there are some sections of Parliament - and it may even be your own party - who are telling us we should object to Senator Conroy's mandatory ISP filtering and instead leave it up to parents.

"My problem is, that as a parent, I can control what happens in my home, but I cannot control what happens outside - even though my own children may not have a mobile phone with internet access, their friends are likely to have one."

Phillips agreed that having parental filters in the home was not the only solution.

"But for some of the worst material, you need Senator Conroy's mandatory filters."

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