Should the whole censorship regime be relaxed?

There is plenty of negative reaction across the ideological spectrum to Stephen Conroy’s internet censorship plans. You can go to the Fairfax website to cast your vote on it.

I agree that Conroy’s plan should be rejected entirely. But though there are special concerns that the Conroy firewall will catch innocent material and slow the internet, what it is essentially trying to do is enforce the existing censorship regimes (state and federal). If these regimes are worth having, then trying to enforce them is not ridiculous in principle, and the debate is just about the technical issues.

I’m not going to mention in any detail the contents that lead films to get the RC (Refused Classification) rating that Conroy is targeting, as it will cause my blog to get caught by the voluntary filters some firms, homes and public computers use. But you can read them at this link. Some of the sexual material that is banned is gross, but I am not convinced it should be censored. Another more extreme classification could guide consumers of standard X-rated films away from practices they don’t want to see.

This is an opportunity for a broader debate about the role of government in deciding what Australians can and cannot see.

Government confident unis will accept a bad deal

DEEWR’s latest higher education newsletter, published today, mostly summarises prior announcements. But there was one statement worth noting:

The Government will announce the details of the review of base funding levels in 2010. While it is for the review to consider the appropriate level of base funding, … early estimates of over enrolments for Commonwealth supported places in 2010 suggests that universities will increase their number of Government funded places while being funded at current rates.

What this effectively says is that the government does not need to increase per student funding rates because universities will be stupid enough to keep enrolling more students even while the government keeps slashing their real funding.

I despair at the lack of political strategy and skill in the higher education sector.