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Sex guide will stay

The Federal Government has no plans to rewrite a safe-sex guide which Senator Brian Harradine believes takes an irresponsible approach to educating young people.
Ahead of the Telstra privatisation debate, which begins today and may hinge on Senator Harradine's vote, the Prime Minister, Mr Howard, gave him a special hearing on the sex education issue last week.
But a spokesman for the Minister for Health, Dr Wooldridge, said yesterday that the Government understood and respected Senator Harradine's concerns but "there has been no change to our policy".
The Minister for Communications, Senator Alston, said the Government would not want to do "anything that might encourage promiscuity", but he had not seen the manual in question.
Senator Harradine gave the KISSS sex guide a scathing review, saying "It's not good enough that the Department of Health has allowed inadequate information to be distributed."
He said he was pleased the issue had come out into the open but dismissed any link to his vote on Telstra or the proposed tax reform package.

Sydney Morning Herald: Monday, March 22

Under construction

Aussie ISPs held responsible for content
Call it the Communications and Decency Act goes down under.
The Australian government Friday announced a "regime" that will hold local  Internet service providers responsible for removing content from Australian Web sites deemed illegal, X-rated or high-offensive. Not only that, the regime will require local ISPs to block access to undesirable non-Australian sites -- a move that puts Australia in step with the online censorship practices of China and Singapore.
Australia's Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Sen. Richard Alston, said in a statement that the government was working on legislation that would "establish a regime to regulate the carriage of content over the Internet."
Under that regime, Alston said, consumer complaints about Internet content would first be made to a government agency, the Australian Broadcasting Authority. The ABA would then issue an interim notice to the ISP hosting that offensive material, ordering that it "prevent publication of, or access to, that content," he said. If ISPs refuse to remove offensive material, they could be fined.
"Primary responsibility for such material should lie with the creator of the material," Alston said. "But online service providers do have a responsibility to remove highly offensive or illegal material from their services once they have been notified of the existence of the material."
'Draconian and ignorant' In a statement issued Friday, the Electronic Frontiers Australia, an anti-censorship group, attacked Alston's regime as "ignorant" and "draconian" -- claiming it will make material that is legal offline illegal on the Internet.
"The latest proposal by the government sets the debate on Internet censorship back three years", said EFA chair Kim Heitman. "The government is ignoring the expert advice of Internet industry associations and user groups, computer professionals, and even government departments.
"Only a few percent of Net content is located in Australia. Almost all the material being targeted by the government is legal in the United States. So the material our government is trying to ban or restrict access to will remain available from overseas.
"Suggestions that ISPs should 'block access to such material hosted overseas'
are totally impractical."