Conroy: Shut The Hell Up and Get On With It!

In recent days, we have heard Stephen Conroy getting back into sermonising over his plan to filter the internet in Australia, in the best interests of “protecting” Australians online.

Of course, anybody who understands what he is proposing knows that it won’t actually protect anyone from anything, so I don’t need to explain that again – there is plenty of material out there to demonstrate that!

The crux of his belief that he can still pursue the plan seems to be that he thinks that because Labor remain in government, that there is now a “mandate” for the policy, because the policy survived an election.


Conroy needs to remember that the ALP did not accumulate seventy-six seats to gain a majority from which to form government. Not a mandate.

Even if you look at the national two-party preferred vote, as of today – September 17th – the totals for TPP voting see the ALP only just over 30,000 votes ahead. Nationally. Hardly a “convincing mandate”, if it is any kind of mandate at all.

The question I feel needs to be asked is exactly WHY the ALP didn’t win seventy-six seats. Was it Conroy’s filter? The best answer is “maybe”, but lets look at it with some numbers. The following link is an Electoral Commission reference to which seats changed hands across the nation:

Labor lost a LOT of seats in Queensland, and there is a considerable perception that the ousting of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd – from Queensland – may have seen many people in that state going parochial with their votes. This may or may not be right, but lets ignore Queensland, just in case that is correct.

So, of the remaining seats on the list, curiously enough there are four seats that were previously in Labor hands that swapped to a Coalition-aligned party. Curious, because four is exactly how many more seats Labor needed to win to form government in their own right.

Those seats are Bennelong and Macquarie in New South Wales, Hasluck in Western Australia, and Solomon in the Northern Territory.

In Bennelong, the ALP lost the TPP vote by 5352 out of 98900 registered voters, or 5.41%. Macquarie saw them lose by 2115 out of 97560 registered voters, or 2.17%. In Hasluck, the margin was 948 votes out of 93892, or a mere 1.01%, and in Solomon it was 1786 voters out of 59879, or 2.98%.

Across the 350231 registered voters in those seats, a total of 10201 votes cost them victory in those seats. Pretty close, isn’t it? That means only 2.91% of people across those seats had to vote the other way to deliver the ALP the precious seventy-six seats to form a majority government.

A very slim 2.91%, less than three people out of every one hundred people. Which brings us back to the question of why Labor didn’t win these four seats.

Was opposition to the filter – Stephen Conroy’s pet policy – even as little as 3% across these four seats? Was it as little as 3% across the entire nation?

While the answer to these questions would always be difficult to prove, were there 5352 voters in Bennelong, 2115 in Macquarie, 948 in Hasluck, and 1786 in Solomon who decided their vote, based on their feelings towards the filtering policy?

I would think, given the magnitude of opposition to the plan in the community, that there is a pretty good chance that a lot more than 3% of people in Australia were against it.

Look at the poll displayed in this article where 99% of people out of 88645 respondents “voted” against the filter.

Three percent across Australia? Extremely good chance, and it is therefore not unreasonable to suggest that Labor may have missed out in these four seats because of Conroy and his filtering policy.

Ironically, it was Conroy’s other pet policy – the National Broadband Network – that swayed the key independents towards siding with Labor in forming a minority government.

Did Conroy win or lose the election? In the tradition of Schrödinger’s cat, the answer is “yes”. He should be grateful that his party is still in power.

However Mr Conroy, you do not have a particular mandate – your filtering policy is for all intents and purposes, dead. If the election has delivered you anything, it is support to build the NBN.

So shut the hell up about the filter, and get on with building the NBN! That’s what got you there, not the filter. Concentrate on something that will deliver the country some real value, rather than something that simply will not.