Essential Research: 58-42

The latest weekly Essential Research has Labor’s lead at 58-42, down from 60-40 last week and 62-38 the week before. Also featured are yet more questions on the global financial crisis and one on the recent activities of Peter Costello, of which most respondents take a dim view. Also:

• The government’s second go at the Commonwealth Electoral Amendment (Political Donations and Other Measures) Bill passed the House of Representatives yesterday. Daryl Melham, Labor’s member for Banks and chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters, had some harsh words during the debate for Family First Senator Steve Fielding, who joined with the Coalition to reject the earlier version of the bill in the Senate last week.

• The redistribution of Tasmanian electorates (which uniquely applies to both federal and state elections) has been finalised, with only minor amendments to the boundaries as originally proposed. These have very slightly weakened Labor’s position in both Braddon and Franklin. More from Antony Green.

• The Electoral Commissioner has determined quotas for Queensland and New South Wales, the first stage in the redistributions that will give a new seat to the first at the expense of the second.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

1,741 comments on “Essential Research: 58-42”

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  1. Regarding Fielding’s proposed amendment didn’t we just see last month the employment figures rise for part time and drop for full time? So the full time/part time question is not just theoretical. Does his proposal mean that someone could be switched from full time to part time (not sacked) and there is no redress? Perhaps I am misunderstanding. Still, the longer the Senate fiddles around with this the more people’s jobs will be lost.

  2. It’s in the interest of a business to _increase_ its number of employees for the purpose of unfair dismissal. Using FTE would make the switch of employees from full time to part time so that more part time employees can be added to make up the same total hours a pointless exercise, since the FTE would not change. It’s the government’s head-count proposal that might encourage that practice.

  3. Triton

    The problem with Euthanasia info is that we have elected governments which have determined that it is illegal to publicize that info.

    The problem is not the messenger (or the non-messenger).

  4. Oz

    I am not sure it will be any more illegal for a member of the public to use various slightly complicated technical measures to get around any government filter to access an illegal web site than to access the site at the moment. (If it is a site which is illegal to access).

  5. [I am not sure it will be any more illegal for a member of the public to use various slightly complicated technical measures to get around any government filter to access an illegal web site than to access the site at the moment.]

    The filter will not simply block “illegal” websites. This has been stressed by Conroy and the Department a number of times.

    For example, accessing pornography online is not illegal. However, the filter will block pornographic websites. Thus, if I bypass the filter using a proxy, VPN or whatever, to access the website, I have not broken the law by accessing an “illegal website”, but I have broken the law by bypassing the filter.

  6. how about this then? Labor agrees to 15 full time employees to get X and FF to pass bill, but then apologizes to the 500,000? workers who won’t be protected and say they had no other choice or the whole bill would have been defeated and the Libs would have got what they wanted, the retention of Workchoices.
    They can then campaign on getting rid of the rest of Workchoices next election with special attention being given to making people aware that the Senate can stop a government from governing.

  7. Oz

    I agree that some “blocked” sites will not be ones which are illegal for you to access
    (eg you might be over 18 (maybe) and the site you seek is R rated but has no access restrictions).

    However, it is news to me that it will be illegal for you to “bypass” the filter and access the site anyway.

  8. Adam et al

    I was just sent projections for the Health Budget in SA. The Health Department has projected that the Health Budget will be the same as the total SA Budget by 2032 without any reforms, largely due to baby boomers entering their 70s and 80s. It’s about $4B a year ATM, projected as $10B by 2020, $20B by 2028 and $30B by 2032. There are going to be some tough decisions for Roxon.

  9. #1606 Dr Good
    Well, I thought that some of the sites on the list were political, not illegal. Anyway, making the list secret is like banning a film without telling anyone what it is. That’s never happened before to my knowledge. There’s no scrutiny.

    Reading your further posts, you seem to be saying that sites will be blocked that are not illegal. On what grounds?

  10. Dr Good,

    Every other country that has implemented mandatory ISP level filtering has made circumvention methods illegal.

    Of course, there’s two sides to this coin.

    Either it’s legal to circumvent the filter and thus ridiculously easy to access illegal/unwanted sites (As easy as typing a couple of numbers into your browser or downloading this program – http://www.anchorfree.com/downloads/hotspot-shield/).

    Or it becomes illegal to use things like proxies and VPN and you open up another huge argument about the completely innocuous applications for those tools.

    Now Dr Good accepts it really is easy to bypass the filter and access things like child porn (Which Conroy used as the impetus for pushing the filter) but that’s ok because it’ll still stop kids accidentally stumbling onto dangerous content.

    So someone (Conroy) has to actually define what the purpose of the filter is. Is it to stop illegal content? If so, it will fail at that. Is it stop children “accidentally stumbling” onto porn, or whatever? If so, is a mandatory filter affecting everyone with a secret blacklist with an undetermined scope the best way to achieve this?

  11. [ Oz
    Posted Friday, March 20, 2009 at 1:08 am | Permalink
    The rabble have all left.]

    Good to see you finally showed your colours

  12. [That’s never happened before to my knowledge.]

    No it hasn’t.

    Films are given, or not given, classification at the behest of the Board of Classification. The board is made up of members who are supposed to represent the Australian community. When deciding whether something should be PG, M, MA or refused classification, witnesses can be called forth to give evidence and there is a right of appeal.

    The ACMA has none of these things. No community representation, no defined guidelines for classification, no public right to knowledge and no avenue for appeal.

    This is a poor system and my response when people argue that a mandatory filter will simply bring the internet in line with other media.

  13. [Reading your further posts, you seem to be saying that sites will be blocked that are not illegal. On what grounds?]

    On the grounds that either the ACMA or individual politicians believe they are “unwanted”.

    The government is already trialling the practical application of this filter without defining it’s scope or the guidelines used to determine what websites will be on the blacklist.

  14. #1619
    But if they are not illegal we have a right to access them, have we not?

    In the past I’ve tended to side with those who don’t want a bill of rights, but this issue sounds like a good reason to have one.

    BTW, the House is sitting and Julia is speaking on Fair Work.

  15. [But if they are not illegal we have a right to access them, have we not?]

    We do now. But we aren’t sure what our rights will be when the filter is implemented.

    The only way to access those websites will be to bypass the filter. So it depends on whether or not it’s illegal to bypass the filter. Dr Good reckons it will be legal.

    I, frankly, don’t see the point in spending so much time, money and effort in implementing a mandatory filter and then saying “Oh well, bypass it if you want”.

    [In the past I’ve tended to side with those who don’t want a bill of rights, but this issue sounds like a good reason to have one.]

    People aren’t often likely to defend their rights until they’re about to be taken away.

  16. It looks like the wikileaks list is the list of all URLs that have been investigated by the AMCA following complaints. Not all of the sites will have met the definition for being banned though, so it’s technically not the official list but it’s a fair bet that all the banned sites are on that list, which is now freely available.

    Keep up the good work, Senator Conroy. You have done more to increase the amount of child porn, violent and sick sites being viewed in Australia than anyone.

  17. Here is an example of a where it may be sensible to block access to a site which can be accessed legally.

    Suppose a site contains material which would be R-rated if it was a film. But suppose that the site makes no checks on your age if you try to access it, or gives no warning.

  18. What puzzles me the most is why it is the ALP rather than the Liberals who are pushing this filter. I would expect it to get the most support from the religious right.

  19. Dio

    The ACMA list of investigated sites is nothing to do with Conroy’s filter plan. It exists under current law and would exist if there were no plans for a filter.

  20. Dr Good

    There would have been no interest in the list if it weren’t for Conroy’s filter plan. It was only leaked because of Conroy.

  21. Suppose the cinema makes no checks on your age if you try and see it. Thus the film should be banned for everyone. Good logic.

    My post at #1616 already covers your point.

    And earlier, I asked what the point of the filter was. Conroy says it’s too stop people accessing child porn etc. You say it’s to stop children viewing R18+ material.

    If it’s the latter, a mandatory filter is certainly not the best way either technically, economically or for a host of other reasons to achieve that goal.

  22. [The ACMA list of investigated sites is nothing to do with Conroy’s filter plan.]

    Wrong. The ACMA list will act as the initial base for the sites blocked by the filter. A version of the list (February 08 according to one of the ISP’s involved in the trial) is being used for the trial. The list of sites blocked by the filter will be the ACMA list of supposedly “illegal” material + 9,000 other, undefined sites.

  23. They need to get Jenkins into the speakers seat 😉 ….. Madame Deputy Speaker can’t speak louder than the backchat in the chamber 😀

  24. Triton, the Libs tried to push through mandatory filtering in the 1990’s but realised it was stupid and infeasible and gave up.

    My gut feeling, backed up by some stuff in the media, is that most of the Labor caucus and even cabinet either think it’s a dumb idea or don’t even care about it – certainly not enough to come out and defend it.

    Senator Conroy is a fairly conservative member of the Victorian Right. The reasoning behind the filter is either he, and other socially conservative ALP members think it’s a good idea or they wanted to get religious votes. Or a combination of both.

    Either way, a “filter to block illegal material and protect children” looks like an attractive policy to many people but when you try and implement it, as the Liberals learn, you SHOULD realise how dumb it is.

  25. [POLICE were called to check harassment claims against a Sydney councillor who put a motion to buy a sex toy for NSW Fair Trading Minister Virginia Judge so she could go “screw herself”.

    Independent Strathfield councillor Danny Lim lodged the motion last month, recommending that the council purchase a vibrator for Ms Judge to encourage her “to stop screwing with the people of Strathfield and screw her- self instead”.]

    Hilarious.

    http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25214355-421,00.html

  26. 1624,

    [
    triton
    Posted Friday, March 20, 2009 at 1:40 pm | Permalink
    What puzzles me the most is why it is the ALP rather than the Liberals who are pushing this filter. I would expect it to get the most support from the religious right.
    ]

    EXACTLY ….. Conroy needs to just give it a rest permanently …..

  27. Oz 1627

    The analogy is as follows: the cinema(=web site) does not make a check on age so that cinema(=web site) is banned. The film (=content) is not banned.

    Sounds reasonable to me.

  28. Point of order on Parliament. When they are having a division as they are now and Jenkins is NOT in the seat of the chair, does he vote on the floor? I know that the Deputy does when she’s not in the seat (as she is now) but I don’t know if it is the same for Jenkins or not. Cheers 🙂

  29. As I said some time before I believe the govt’s record levels will have peaked as the recession starts to bite. Inevtibaly some will start to be unhappy with the govt of the day. And this exposes the idiocy of the Oppositions tactics to date. If they had behaved in a responsible way since the begining they may well be much closer now and in a place to take advantage of a recession.

  30. [As I said some time before I believe the govt’s record levels will have peaked as the recession starts to bite. Inevtibaly some will start to be unhappy with the govt of the day.]

    That’s what I said as well, but Gary Bruce laughed at me.

    Since then Newspoll, Essential and Morgan have all swung away from the government.

    The House just voted against the Senate amendments.

  31. [Since then Newspoll, Essential and Morgan have all swung away from the government.]
    From massive unheard of highs back to election destroying levels. P-leeese.

  32. I never said the ALP would lose it’s lead, I said there will be an inevitable swing away given higher unemployment and general economic negativity. I was right.

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