[The following petition was delivered to the ACT, NSW and Federal Governments in July 1996. Although the specific NSW proposals had already been withdrawn by the time the petition was presented, it was felt that the sentiments remained valid as alternative legislation was planned and developed. This too remains for historical interest. -K.]

PETITION to the ACT Government

We the undersigned are deeply concerned about actions now being taken by various Australian State, Territory and Federal legislative bodies with respect to regulation and control of the online community in Australia and of the Internet in particular.

We are concerned because these actions are for the most part being taken in ignorance and fear, not in response to practical or researched need.

We are concerned because policy is being developed by officials who are ignorant of the nature of the Internet, ignorant of the online communities which now exist and ignorant of the technologies they seek to regulate.

We are concerned because this ignorance extends to the means available for such measures to be undetectably bypassed, neutralising any possible positive benefits the proposals may have and leaving only their sorry side effects.

We are concerned because policy is being developed without due consultation with those it will most affect.

We are concerned because policies now being proposed do not adequately protect our freedom of speech, our freedom of assembly or our privacy.

We are concerned because these policies to endanger the safety and liberty of Australian citizens, diminish Australia's industrial competitiveness, harm the education of Australian children and to lower Australia in the esteem of other nations.

We urge you to reject any such flawed policies and to reject the flawed methods by which such policies are made. In particular, we urge you to reject the legislative measures presently being proposed by the NSW State Government.