Is The Wicked Witch Finally Dead?

In July, Stephen Conroy announced to the waiting world that his internet filtering legislation would be delayed for at least year, pending a “review of the classification system”, amid claims that special interest groups lobbying for the filter had been tipped off to the announcement ahead of time.

Later, the Coalition announced that it would be joining the Greens and independent senator Nick Xenophon in pledging to vote against the legislation should it ever arrive in the senate – regardless of who wins the federal election next Saturday.

It seemed at that stage, the filter was doomed. With the Greens expected to continue to hold the balance of power in the senate, the Coalition numbers, along with the vote of Xenophon meant that Labor numbers alone would never see the legislation pass into law.

Not to be outdone, Conroy arrogantly promised to push on with the legislation, despite appearing to not have the numbers, either in the current senate, or the likely composition of the next senate.

However, it seems the tables might finally have turned. In a one-on-one interview released today, it seems that Conroy himself has finally admitted publicly that it is unlikely to happen at all.

When asked if the filter was effectively dead, and if there was any way mandatory filtering could be brought in without a vote in the Senate, Conroy responded:

“Genuinely, I don’t believe we can, I don’t think there’s a backdoor way we could do it. I think the only way we could do it is through Parliament.”

His “classification review” looks now to be setting up for a convenient “get out of jail free card” scenario. There are clearly no favourable conditions in the senate for the legislation, and he admits that he couldn’t get it through with it going to the senate. So does that REALLY mean the filter is dead?

Well, it is not an ABSOLUTE no answer, but it seems that Conroy himself finally realises that the writing is on the wall, and that his hugely unpopular policy is not only on life support, but it has just started flatlining. Will he call for the crash cart, or quietly put it out of its misery when the “classification review” is completed in around 12 months?

It is starting to look decidedly that way.