Australian Web Crawl


Taking its cue from enlightened regimes such as China, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea, the Australian government wants to stop its citizens from seeing "illegal material" on their computer screens. Originally justified as a way of fighting child pornography, the mandatory Internet filter also might be used to block access to "illegal hard-core material" (whatever that is) and sites discussing controversial subjects such as anorexia and euthanasia. The plan has provoked criticism from the Green Party, ISPs, and business groups, which complain that it will unfairly limit Australians' access to information, further slow their already poky Internet service, and impede online commerce. The rejoinder from Communications Minister Stephen Conroy:

I will accept some debate around what should and should not be on the Internet. I am not a wowser.

I'm not sure that a willingness to discuss the details of Internet censorship disqualifies one for wowser status, but I admit I only just learned the word.

Last year Jeff Taylor noted an earlier version of the filtering plan, which would have allowed especially curious Australians to opt out. 

[Thanks to John Kluge for the tip.]

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  1. The whole thing is ridiculous, but even those morons who might think that some level of internet regulation might be acceptable should find the prohibition on euthanasia sites repugnant. Will the entire state of Oregon be banned from accessing Australian servers?

  2. wowser,n:A person regarded as obnoxiously puritanical.

    Funny, I lived in Australia and actually used the word. To me it just meant something equivalent to “irritating fucking prick”.

    Mind you the Australians seem to have about eighty thousand more words in their vocabulary that mean the same thing.

    On the subject, this is oddly consistent with Australians love/hate relationship with authority that some trace back to the strained relationship between the original conflicts and their Royal Marine guards.

  3. “conflicts” sb “convicts

  4. The only Australian website that inerests me is “Abby Winters”. I hope this site won’t be effected.

  5. Issac,

    That actually makes sense. Someone who is obnoxiously puritanical IS an irritating fucking prick.

  6. Interesting find, John.

  7. Ah, yes, the new Labor government flexes its nanny state muscles.

    I’ll be interested to read Tim Blair’s take on this.

  8. Why use wowser when the perfectly good “puritanical” is available….or am i thinking purityrant?

  9. Why use wowser when the perfectly good “puritanical” is available

    Why use puritanical when the perfectly good “wowser” is available?

  10. Why use wowser when the perfectly good “puritanical” is available

    Why use puritanical when the perfectly good “wowser” is available?

    Puritanical relates of course to the Puritans, a group of persecuted Christians who fled to the new world and immediatelt started persecuting others. They had zip.shit to do with Aussie history.

    Wowser has only 40% of the syllables of puritanical so it’s a handier, easier to use word. I like it.

  11. As an Australian, this kind of thing greatly embarrasses me. I’ve written to Senator Conroy on more than one occasion to register my utter disgust at the policy. As an IT pro, I’ve pointed out to him that it’s pointless anyway, as the filtering can easily be circumvented. The Labor Party have done a few of these kinds of things so far, like the alco-pops tax and I suspect we will be seeing a few more. The PM, Kevin Rudd, is not only a nanny-statist, but a prude to go with it. He wears his Catholicism on his sleeve, something which the average Aussie takes a dim view of (we are not an especially religious country).

    It’s about time we Aussies rediscovered our healthy disrespect for authority.

  12. It’s time you Aussies rediscovered your healthy respect for shrimp (on the barbie).

  13. “interests” and “affected”

    In my defense, I was at work when I posted the above monstrosity.

  14. Like Adam S I’m an Australian and also wish we’d unleash our inner larrikin.

    Rudd (who BTW isn’t a Catholic – he switched to Anglicanism) certainly appeals to a chunk of the population which might not like the sanctimony / overt religiosity of the man but who’ll support any idiocy as long as it’s to protect the kids (cf the war on chubby tots, alcopop, yucky ideas etc). My only consolation is that, like these other ideas, this one will be expensive but at least it will fail.

    Actually, make that my second consolation – at least I didn’t vote for Rudd. Or indeed anyone – as usual I had my name ticked off the roll and then scribbled a few song lyrics on the voting paper to amuse those poor people spending their Saturday night counting votes. Ah, compulsory voting – another great idea we share with North Korea I believe.

  15. I still reckon he got it right when C.J. Dennis defined it thus: ‘Wowser: an ineffably pious person who mistakes this world for a penitentiary and himself for a warder’.

  16. I am not a wowser.

    Why, I’m sure he even occasionally mixes in half a scoop of regular with the decaf!

  17. “I will accept some debate …”

    The use of the word “some” seems to me to confirm that this person is definitely a “wowser”.

  18. “I will accept some debate…” – disgraceful. I met this odious little man in the National Tally Room on election night last year just as it was obvious Labor would be taking government. He scared me with his obvious lust for power (being very much the young-ish back-room dealer) and the shiny eyed look of anticipation on his face re having the power to inflict himself on an unsuspecting populace. My impression of him at the time has proved depressingly accurate.

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