The Banned in Australia Icon

[Commentary]

30th May 1999

[Banned in Australia Black] [Banned in Australia White]

Several people have written to me about the Banned in Australia icon on the front page of my Web site. I didn't design them. On the day that Harradine and Howard got their unworkable legislation passed, I was reading Slashdot, the geek news-source. There was an news item about Australia and the censorship laws. I read the comments about it, and there were a number of Australians writing about it. Some were thoughtful, some were inflammatory, and some were suffering the great Australian cringe.

One Australian writer, name unknown, offered two GIFs, and suggested that they be linked to the EFA Web site at www.efa.org.au. I downloaded both of these, and they are the ones that you see at the top of the page. The URLs he offered for them are white and black. From this, you can determine that he has an account with Microplex and his logon name is gths. If you want to check out his Web site, try this link.

I have included these links and this information so you can help yourselves to them, and explain that the credit for the design goes to someone else and not to me. There are a few items deep within my Web page that might come close to breaching the Australian guidelines, so I have stretched the point and used the icons. Those items aren't listed in the Site Index either. I didn't have the courage to do that.

I don't have strong personal views about the legislation. It's unworkable and stupid. It's quite obviously a deal between the Liberals and Brian Harradine. The Liberals want to sell off the rest of Telstra and they need Harradine to do that. So in a you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours deal, the Liberals supported Harradine's attempt at censorship. I have seen this happen a few times in the past. The stupid legislation usually gets quietly repealed when it's discovered to be unworkable. In world eyes though, only the stupid legislation is remembered and not the sensible repeal. Everyone now believes that we are living behind the Kangaroo Curtain, even though the legislation doesn't come into effect much later.

I have been quietly contemptuous of both Harradine and Colston over the last few years. Both have done some good things and some stupid things. Harradine recently gave the GST a major setback. He said some very telling things. For example, a tax is not for the next 3 years of a political term, but it's forever. A Government won't repeal or change a tax unless they stand to make much more money from another tax. Sensible words from someone who's been in politics long enough to see past the perks of a three-year term. I agreed with his speech when he rejected the GST, although I don't agree with most of his politics. Mal Colston seems to be voting according to his conscience in his dying days. He rejected voluntary voting for the Student Unions. What I do find objectionable, is how two independent politicians can have the balance of power and effectively control Australia. The effect is that all the people who voted Labor or Liberal or Democrat have been marginalised and only those few who voted for Colston or Harradine get their way.