Diverse Saturday

Fiona Patten from The Sex Party speaks at the internet anti-blocking protest at Town Hall.

Fiona Patten from The Sex Party speaks at the internet anti-blocking protest at Town Hall.

The first stop on my “diverse Saturday” was the “Don’t Block The Internet Rally” at Town Hall. I use the interwebs a fair bit, both for professional and personal purposes. Don’t we all?

And so I headed down to Town Hall where there was maybe 400-500 people, a lot of them being “the usual suspcets” when it comes to protests in that area.

At one point as I walked through I was confronted with about half a dozen petitions in favour of everything from same-same marriages to “ending the war”. It was all a bit too much, so I wandered over to KFC to grab a burger while I waited for the speeches.

There were a couple of blokes I’ve never heard of before from organisations like Electronic Frontiers, one of whom bore a resemblance to Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons. Fiona Patten from what was the Eros Foundation, now The Sex Party also spoke, mentioning the long history of censorship attempts in Australia.

I remain fairly open-minded about the subject, as I just haven’t done enough reading about the real implications of the government’s plan to filter the web in Australia. Aside from the free speech stuff (which brought up notions of The Great Firewall of China), I’ve been most concerned about this idea that filtering the web would slow things down even further. After hearing the speeches, I still remain unconvinced either way of the pros and cons of the plan.

And from there, it was down to meet Damo to continue to help him in his furniture removals.

As it was a beautiful day, the roads were absolutely packed, so things went fairly slowly unfortunately.

I arrived back home with just enough time for a quick nap before heading out to Parramatta to see “Thank God It’s Christmas” at the Riverside Theatre. The show was loads of fun, and I enjoyed it immensely. Jean Kittson was hillarious, in particular, with her tales about talking to her deaf mother on the telephone, and in showing photographs of their family’s “Australian Christmas Tree” (a beach umbrella covered in tinsel which takes up most of their lounge-room).

As I caught the train, I logged in to Facebook and left a brief status update… “James is on the train to parramatta”

By the time I arrived home I had the following comments…

Paramatta doesnt sound like a great destination…why dont you get teh train back home again?

I went to Parramatta once…in the 80’s. It was o.k.

Are you planning to come back?

Show me the way to Parramatta…

Cityrail train…take me home…to the place where i beloooong.

The reason being?

Geez, I thought, it’s only Parramatta! Heaven knows what they would have commented if I’d said I was going to Penrith.

  1. I’m definitely against. The stuff they want to censor is illegal anyway, so deal with it in the existing way. It will also slow down the internet a lot – every web page has to be checked against a gigantic list held at ISP level before it opens. Most importantly though it only deals with HTTP and none of the other protocols like bit torrent which is how most dodgy stuff happens. More here: http://nocleanfeed.com/learn.html

    Good they had the EFF people speaking. Not sure what the Sex Party lady said, but to my mind that detracts from the message. Yes one of the things to debate is an adult’s right to view porn etc, but there are more important problems with the clean feed idea, and the sex card plays into the hands of the “will someone think of the children” brigade who are behind this.

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  2. Tom – yes the sex stuff muddies the waters a bit. They kept saying it wasn’t about sex, but it kept coming back to that throughout some of the speeches. Good point about http vs other protocols.

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  3. The sex people have got the money to get on the stage and organize. Yes, it is about the sex, but it’s more about the government of the day adding whatever it likes to the list or whatever its current one-senator-courted majority doesn’t like.

    Why can’t internet-savvy old people read up on how to end their days?

    If you want to stamp on online gambling, get serious about avoiding credit card transactions and other banking transactions which are linked to it.

    I’m surprised you should be so ambivalent about this, James.

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  4. Marcellous – I’m not ambivalent at all. There’s a big difference between ambivalence and open-mindedness (the word I used). My natural instinct is to be opposed to the change (the reason I attended), but I would like to be clear about everything – having heard all of the different sides of the argument. The old-fashioned journalist in me, I guess.

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