The serial pest Stilgherrian had another comment in Crikey about the Internet filter.
I posted a short comment on his blog but also a longer piece that Crikey hasn't yet seen fit to print. The shorter piece tried to highlight the fact that Conroy is being attacked for spending too much AND too little on the trial. Stilgherrian in his reply tried to repeat the argment that a trial wasn't warranted because there wasn't a policy being trialled - which was the same technique used by Howard to kill the republic.
I don't know what it is about Stilgherrian that makes his near unintelligble prose such appetising content for Crikey. Somehow or other we are meant to believe that Conroy has unanswered questions about his internet filtering trial that he was supposed to "come out and answer" after issuing his press release announcing the first six triallists.
It would be an interesting story if there were an accredited journalist out there who had tried to get comment and was denied it.* But Conroy's media adviser was unlikely to be able to take any serious journalists calls as everytime he makes an announcement the lunatics post Conroy's e-mail address and the media adviser's mobile number on the Internet forum "whirlpool".
Take the post from "Gator" at 5:57pm last Wednesday "Conroy can shove this test where the sun doesn't shine. It's not even remotely valid. Quick – hammer his email. :P". Followed up with "firstname.lastname@example.org There's his email – feel free to flood his inbox. Make the objections cogent and not just stating the bleeding obvious such a "you are a retarded, moronic self-serving bastige with the IQ of a watermelon and the timing of a lousy comedian on an off night" at 6:06pm.
It was btone at 6:32pm that posted "From the ahem...press release...aka political death warrant: For further information on the Government's cyber-safety policy, including detailed questions and answers, see: www.dbcde.gov.au/cybersafetyplan Date: 11 February 2009 Contact: Tim Marshall (phone number given in the post) Heloooo, Timmmmehhhhhh!!!!!!!!!! :)"
These are the people we are led to believe by Stilgherrian are the sophisticated opposition. Do they understand that the only thing guaranteed not to get politician's attention is the unsophisticated message attack? (Oh and by the way that e-mail address and phone number can be readily found on the internet if people really wanted to find them, not sure why the whirlpool brigade need to be given them).
The posts as a whole make interesting reading, as just as many people complan about the delay in the trial as complain about the trial. Well, actually, the same people complain about both. Just as the same people complained about the fact that Conroy only announced trials with small ISPs, ignoring the fact that they also announced they were continuing to work with other ISPs to finalise arrangements. (Mind you when someone pointed out the line about continuing to discuss with other ISPs, basil00 wrote at 10:45pm Wednesday "Yeah, I it's possible. But it's also possible that the above statement is a trick designed to defuse criticism over the exclusion of those larger ISPs :/ Didn't seem to work."
Seems the poor guy can't win - if he announces something its wrong, if he delays someting he's wrong.
Conroy keeps repeating this is a trial to inform evidence based policy. I ask you what distinguishes these internet libertarians from the christian moralists they seek to oppose - because it certainly isn't anything about being grounded in reality.
* Stilgherrian would argue from his post "His office has stopped answering even straightforward questions, and his own response to nearly every question is to ignore the substance of the question and just repeat his prepared statements. That’s not a debate, that’s a parrot. As one journalist put it to me, it’s pointless interviewing him because all he does is read out the media release." Maybe Stilgherrian would like to pay more attention to politics. Has he ever seen a Minister (or shadow) do anything else. It is called being "on message". As an example have a look at Christopher Pyne on Lateline last night.