The Australian Labor Party apparently has been thinking that its plan to censor the internet was going to be popular.
Now, as the party slumps in the opinion polls, a survey has revealed that Aussies do not want web censorship after all.
Initially Labor stuck to its guns on censorship pointing to a phone survey run by McNair Ingenuity indicated widespread support for the initiative among ordinary voters.
However, new findings from a study commissioned by the Safer Internet Group indicate that the more parents find out about the proposed filter, the less they support it.
The report, conducted by GA Research, said that while parents were certainly concerned about what their children might be exposed to on the internet, when details of the proposed mandatory filter were explained and they became aware that other filtering options were available, their enthusiasm for the government's approach dropped.
It is starting to look like only rabid Christian groups are supporting the filter. However, they do not make up the majority of Aussie voters.
Others argue that the measure could prove ineffective and open the door to censorship of other important non-illegal material.
To be fair to the Labor Party, the Safer Internet Group, which is made up of companies and organisations that include Google, Internet Industry Association, iiNet, Australian Council of State School Organisations and the Australian Library and Information Association.
In other words the sorts of people who are opposed to web censorship. The research was also extremely limited with only 39 people taking part in four focus group interviews.
In line with the McNair study, the focus groups indicated initial broad support for the Government's proposed legislation, “however, when details of the proposal were explained in the focus groups and people became aware that other approaches to filtering are available, enthusiasm dropped. The more information parents received, the less they supported the government's proposed solution,” the GA report said.
When researchers gave options on different ways of approaching internet filtering, the overwhelming majority of participants in the focus groups did not choose the government's proposal.
Instead they plugged for more education of parents and children in how to use the internet more safely and access and install free filters.