The Australian Greens' broadband policy
We’ve already covered the two major broadband-focussed election issues of 2010, including the mandatory internet filter, and of course, the Government’s controversial $43 billion National Broadband Network. But below we’re going to focus on these issues with a Greens focus.
On the Australian Greens website, the Greens put forward a number of general principles related to internet and new technologies. The Greens want:
• affordable and reliable high speed internet connections available for all Australians.
• the equitable installation of new communications infrastructure across Australia.
• ensure that regulation of the internet is transparent, accountable and protects freedom of speech, expression and access to information.
• innovation in advanced technology and methods are key elements for success for business and industry.
• innovations in science and technology are essential if we are to meet the challenges of addressing climate change and the transition to a sustainable society.
• regulation to ensure that network neutrality is maintained on the internet.
The Greens theoretically use these principles to guide their attitudes toward current technology-focussed issues. Below are their current stances on some of the issues circulating the media in recent weeks:
The National Broadband Network
The Greens support Labor’s proposed National Broadband Network (NBN), which is already underway primarily in Tasmania. Senator Scott Ludlam, the Greens' ICT spokesperson, has said: "The NBN should go ahead, with priority for communities in regional areas, and it should absolutely stay in public hands so that we don't see another repeat of the debacle that followed the privatisation of Telstra."
The Greens have not shown support for the Coalition’s proposed $6 billion alternative to the Government’s NBN, showing concern for “a real patchwork of service delivery.”
Mandatory internet censorship
The Greens display a strong deviation from Labor policy when it comes to mandatory internet censorship. The Greens argue that education is a better way to protect children from pornography, and the mandatory internet censorship could limit freedom of speech.
After independent senator Xenophon and the Liberals joined the Greens in opposing the scheme, it became apparent that Minister Stephen Conroy’s internet filter would not be implemented after this election as it would not pass through the Senate.
The Greens are also pro open-source, and want to “ensure that all public governmental data is released in open, interoperable standards.”