Apparently the Australian government now thinks that China is the country to imitate.
Telecommunications Minister Stephen Conroy has called for a Great Australian Firewall that would block websites (sound familiar?). The trial began Christmas Eve, and there's not even any legal mechanism to determine what goes on the blocked-list - just government fiat.
As with most first steps by big government into telling its citizens what they're allowed to see and read, he's acting under the guise of protecting the children. It's an old strategy - you dare speak out against burning witches? Then you must be one too! Speak out against protecting children? You must be an evil pervert! It's deadly for politicians to take a stand for something abstract like freedom of information when they can be cast as taking a stand against something concrete like the safety of children. Australia has been a vibrant democracy and I hope its citizens speak out against this outrage and keep it that way.