Australian Financial Review 11 July 1996 Page 55

Story by David Crowe

(Discovery and data capture by Robin Whittle)

Censor's hands of the Internet

Proposed national legislation to censor the Internet has been postponed in favour of a national code of conduct for the Internet industry, following a meeting of State and Federal Attorneys-General yesterday.

The Standing Committee of Attorneys-General rejected draft legislation drawn up by the NSW Attorney-General, Mr Jeff Shaw, which had been considered for nationwide adoption.

The meeting effectively referred the issue to the Australian Broadcasting Authority, in an endorsement of the online services report handed down last week by the ABA.

"It was agreed that the way forward was to pursue talks with the industry to create a code of conduct, and the ABA would pursue that," a spokesperson for Mr Shaw said last night.

"The legislation will be postponed. We need to concentrate on the code of conduct and the ABA will be handling that."

The draft NSW legislation, which had been viewed in an early form on the Internet, had prompted warnings from Internet Service Providers that it could lead to strict - and perhaps technically impossible - controls on Internet content.

ISPs had criticised the legislation for imposing onerous and costly measures on companies that would not adopt a code of conduct.

The ABA report, which proposed a national code of conduct last week as one of several recommendations, was largely welcomed by the industry.


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