A lot of people are celebrating the supposed “retreat” by Kevin Rudd in regards to the mandatory ISP filtering, as reported in the media this morning. Hold the champagne folks – there is a lot more to this than you might think – this is a political ploy.
There are two realistic ways the government might try and get this hotly contested piece of legislation through our federal parliament.
Firstly, they can put it to the lower house, and seek its passage to the senate. Since the government (obviously) holds a large majority in the lower house, this would be a given. After the legislation is read in the senate, the government needs to use its own numbers in the senate – (with which it does not hold a majority) – plus get enough independent and minor party senators to side with them, to get it through the senate and into law.
Secondly, they could wait until after the next election – expected around November this year – and hope that they are returned to government in the lower house, and have better senate numbers to pass the legislation without the help of the independents and minor parties.
Given that they have chosen to put the legislation on hold until after the next election, they are tacitly admitting that they do not have the support of the independents and minor parties in the current senate to get this legislation through the easiest way.
A “double-dissolultion” of parliament – such as that which led to the fall of the Whitlam government in 1975 – is not an option, as this is not supply bill.
The bottom line is although this could be classed as a minor victory – (and it probably is) – there is no real cause for celebration. Not yet.
This postponement of the legislation give us a chance to campaign ahead of the next election to either remove the Rudd government at the lower house level, or ensure that they do not gain a majority share of the senate to be able to simply pass it through on party lines.
So, now it is time to leverage this new position, and campaign even harder to make sure this draconian piece of rubbish never makes it into our statutes.