A spokesman for Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has said that legislation that would set up a $120 million Internet censorship system requiring ISPs to block pornography (and information about euthanasia) will not be introduced before Australia’s upcoming elections, possibly October.

Labor party Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stirred up massive controversy when he made an election promise to block “illegal content” on the Internet including pornography.

Critics have said that the censorship wouldn’t be effective, would slow downloads and suppress the free flow of information.

Story ‘ere: “Rudd retreats on web filter legislation”

Last month someone leaked the secret 2,300-page Internet filter blacklist that had been drawn up by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. It showed that the government understated the number of banned Web pages when it said the list was 1,300 pages long.

The list included Web sites of some legitimate businesses including two bus companies, online poker sites, a number of Wikipedia entries, Google and Yahoo group pages, a dental practice and a tour operator.

Story here: “Australia’s Web blacklist leaked”

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation web site has the transcript of a very good debate of the issue on its web site: “Internet filter policy under fire”

One wonders why a government is willing to spend $120 million to require ISPs to block sites that deliver pictures of naked ladies (and suicide advice) but not the ones that steal billions every year pumping spam, downloading malicious code, selling fake medicine or stealing banking and credit card information.