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Oz conservatives demand porn-busting net levy

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A conservative Australian party is demanding a levy on all internet users to fund a AU$45m blockade on smut and general web nastiness at server level, news.com.au reports.

Family First - which holds seats in South Australia - has close ties to the Pentecostal Assemblies of God and reckons that: "As a society, we have acknowledged the need to regulate other media and prevent porn peddlers from accessing children and adolescents." The ban would hit "disturbed, aggressive or sexualised behaviour" and would see users stump up AU$7 to AU$10 per year.

Family First acknowledges that their plan "may have the result of putting cost pressures on some of the smaller ISPs" but claims that most of them are dispensible anyway. Indeed, the party says that "adequate competition could be maintained with 30 ISPs rather than the hundreds in existence now". The net tax is essential, it insists, and the destruction of most of Oz's service providers "is a small price to pay to protect children".

Interestingly, Family First's proposal cites a recent study by the Australia Institute which "found many teenagers had been exposed to internet pornography, and questioned the effectiveness of the existing system of internet regulation". We suspect that this is none other then the eye-opening probe into Aussie smut which actually concluded that net porn is good for you. This particular study caused an almighty punch-up fuelled by moral indignation and fury, and it appears that Family First has now quite startlingly co-opted the findings for its own porn-busting crusade. ®

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