Tony Smith Tears Trousers on Barbed Wire

In the current mandatory internet filtering debate, there is something that irritates me almost as much as the policy itself. It is the words coming from the Shadow Communications Minister, Tony Smith.

What words? Exactly – he is almost completely silent.

While Stephen Conroy runs rampant across Australia calling everyone who cares to challenge him a “supporter of child pornography”, and tells anyone who’ll listen that the many advocacy groups – both online and offline – are “misleading the Australian people”, Smith is stony silent.

Here is the trite little piece of spin succinctly placed on his own website, under the guise of being his “response” to the issue:

“The Coalition will continue to consult extensively with the telecommunications industry and other stakeholders to enable a fully informed response, if and when the Government puts forward any formal proposal or legislation.”

Say what? What “consultation”? Tony Smith looks to me like a fool right now, sitting up on the fence, letting the barbed wire tear a hole in his pants.

Instead of waiting until “the Government puts forward any formal proposal or legislation”, how about you pull your finger out Mr Smith, and actually act within the portfolio you’ve been assigned? How about you put some PRESSURE on Senator Conroy to actually come up with the legislation, instead of hiding it until after the election?

Presumably you want the job of Communications Minister after the next election? How about coming up with the Coalition’s policy on the matter, and not wait for Conroy? Your friends in the National Party have just voted to not support mandatory filtering – your fence sitting makes you look unresponsive, uninformed, or uninterested.

This is an issue that concerns MANY Australians – Australians who vote. Draw up the courage to stand up to Conroy, and you’ll be surprised how many votes you might win for yourself and the coalition!

As for the NBN – don’t be so shortsighted and condemn it to the trash can, just to try and score political points, by claiming you’ll save the money by dropping it and implementing your vastly inferior plan. The NBN is a massively important piece of future infrastructure for Australia. It is actually one of the only things Senator Conroy has gotten somewhere near right.

So, Tony – I implore you – grow some balls, and stand up to the biggest bully against freedom of speech this country has ever seen!

After all, it is your job.