Online Gambling On Trial in Australia

Published Tuesday, April 07, 2009 -

Stephen Conroy Australia's Communication Director keeps making derogatory comments regarding the large internet service provider iiNet causing much concern voiced in the Australian press recently. Senator Conroy ridiculed iiNet at a CommsDay Telecommunications conference before a group of major industry players.

iiNet's legal defence claimed it was not aware of what was being downloaded on its network. Conroy said the provider was "oblivious" and thought the arguments were "stunning."

Australia's Sunday Morning Herald reported some industry commentators have interpreted Senator Conroy's comments as revenge for iiNet pulling out of the Federal Government's internet censorship trials. The company criticized the Government for constantly changing its policy and said it could not "reconcile participation in the trial with our corporate social responsibility".

Nick Minchin, Opposition communications spokesperson and George Brandis the shadow attorney-general, mounted an offensive to Senator Conroy's comments, calling his conduct "grossly improper" and accusing him of expressing a partisan view regarding potential evidence in iiNet's defence. They said Conroy's words had the potential to "prejudice a matter before the Federal Court".

Herbert Geer from iiNet's law firm said they were "particularly surprised" at the Senator's arguments, as the internet service provider had not yet filed its defence and evidence on key aspects of the case.

Law partner Graham Phillips stated, "We hope that all parties will allow the legal process to run its course. We'll do our talking in court and allow iiNet's defence to be judged by the judiciary,"

Senator Conroy said in response to critics, "Senator Minchin needs to get a sense of humour or, more importantly, a broadband policy." Online poker rooms and other online sites are the subject of the continuing attempts by Conroy to keep the public from logging on.

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