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Sex and Politics: Australia’s New Political Party takes on the Mandatory Internet Filter

Last Updated: July 26, 2021

Luke Gilkerson
Luke Gilkerson

Luke Gilkerson has a BA in Philosophy and Religious Studies and an MA in Religion. He is the author of Your Brain on Porn and The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality. Luke and his wife Trisha blog at IntoxicatedOnLife.com

On November 20, adult industry spokespersons launched a new political party: The Australian Sex Party.

Tired of “hypocrites” and “wowsers” (an Australian slang term for an obtrusively puritanical person)? The Sex Party hopes to save their nation from such people. The woman you see in this video is the party’s convenor, Fiona Patten, the head of the Eros Association, the national adult retail and entertainment lobby group.

What has triggered this new party line? Patten says the trigger has been the Australian government’s decision to place a mandatory filter on the Internet.

The Filter

The Australian Internet filter has been a topic of discussion for some time now. Patten’s concern is that the filter will actually blacklist any and all adult sites.

Currently this mandatory Internet filter is being primed to block 10,000 websites as part of a blacklist of unwanted content, which includes 1300 websites already blacklisted by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy recently spoke in Federal Parliament about the live trial of this filter technology that will last six weeks. This pilot “will test against this list as well as filtering for a range of URLs to around 10,000 so that the impacts on network performance of a larger blacklist can be examined.”

What will the ACMA consider as “unwanted content”? Under the Australian government’s $125.8 million Plan for Cyber-Safety, users will be able to switch between two blacklists which block content that is inappropriate for children, and a separate list which blocks illegal material.

The Sex Party

Sex Party convenor Fiona Patten asks, “Basically, should what happens in your bedroom be decided by minority religious lobby groups?” She gives an unqualified “No.”

The party will seek to overturn this mandatory ISP filtering and return Internet censorship to parents and individuals. What other policies will the Sex Party have? These are some of their objectives quoted directly from the party’s website:

  • Develop global approaches to tackling child pornography which focus on production of the material rather than its distribution.
  • To bring about the development of a national sex education curriculum for secondary schools as a first step in preventing the sexualization of children.
  • To hold a referendum to create mandatory equal numbers of women in the Senate and State Upper Houses.
  • Abolish sex slavery and sexual servitude by introducing non morality-based immigration policies that allow bona-fide sex workers to work legally in Australia.
  • To bring about the establishment of a truly national classification scheme which includes a uniform non-violent erotica rating for explicit adult material for all jurisdictions and through all media including the Internet and computer games.
  • To enact national pregnancy termination laws along the same lines as divorce law — which allow for legal, no-fault and guilt-free processes for women seeking termination.
  • Overturn restrictions on aid to overseas family planning organizations that reference abortion.
  • To create total equal rights in all areas of the law for gay, lesbian and transsexual couples.

What chance does the Sex Party have? Patten comments that there is four million customers of adult shops in Australia, so the Party believes it has a real chance of winning seats in the state and federal parliaments. Patten also hopes the 1000 or so adult shops around the country would become Sex Party branches.

  • Comments on: Sex and Politics: Australia’s New Political Party takes on the Mandatory Internet Filter
    1. received a notification in my facebook site about you. I am glad you are fighting pornography. We have a group that goes to the Las Vegas Porn Convention once a year and we share the love of God with them.

      Thanks for all you do,
      Vicky Whitington

    2. Daniel

      The word “mandatory” should not be used by any cause, no matter how pure the intentions are. God gave mankind free will, and rulers (even the majority) have no more right than any of us to tell and force other people how to live. A free society would allow people to do things that God does not desire. But by resorting to an unfree society to force God’s will on other people will only create other evils while being completely inept at rooting out the evil being targeted. Alcohol prohibition serves as a good lesson of what happens when we force people to do things against their will. More people abused and died from alcohol DURING prohibition, while the black market created by this government legislation created and empowered organized crime. This is also seen in the current “war on drugs.”

    3. Interesting post. That said, are you in favour of this filter or not?

      I see that you’re opposed to pornography on the basis that a book written before the internet provides an accurate and adapted guide to how the internet should be used. I find that slightly worrying.

      Do you think internet filtering is an appropriate way to stop what you perceive as a pornography problem?

    4. Greg,

      Personally, I am not all that in favor of this filter as it currently stands because of the technological problems they are finding with implementing it. There are other ways of achieving the ends they want without limiting freedoms or creating subpar technology.

      As for censorship in general, I realize that it is a slippery slope for governments to stand on, but one they’ve been standing on for a long time, so I’m not opposed to it with the right parameters.

      As for the “book written before the Internet,” I would hate to accuse you of chronological snobbery, claiming that older books are irrelevant for new audiences. I know you could come up with dozens of examples of good, older books that speak powerfully to modern audiences. So please, explain why you are worried.

    5. I agree with many of those dot point policies except for their proposed reform of the electoral system. It’s going to be very difficult to implement a forced gender equality in our electoral systems without moving to something like gender-based list proportional representation.

      That having been said, if we can have political parties who want to stamp out pornography, it can only be healthy for the debate to have a party who want to strengthen the legal standing of pornography.

    6. Luke, excellent article. People must take into consideration all areas where this filter could potentially block and unfortunately, sex/adult is the biggest – clearly. There are many dodgy websites out there by the hundreds of thousands no doubt, however not one government can deem what is and what’s not appropriate for their country. Certain things can be installed to prevent such illicit material and the government should be focusing more on protection on our computers, providing better software that still allows us to be in control.

      – Andrew Knight

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