In June 2011, two Australian ISPs, Telstra and Optus, confirmed they would voluntarily block access to a list of child abuse websites provided by the Australian Communications and Media Authority and more websites on a list compiled by unnamed international organisations from mid-year.On the same day, the then Communications Minister stated that as a result of notices to the Australian largest ISPs, over 90% of Australians using Internet Services are going to have a web filter.
The proposal has generated substantial opposition, with a number of concerns being raised by opponents and only a few groups strongly in support.
In November 2010, the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) released a document indicating that the earliest date any new legislation could reach parliament was mid-2013.
Australia is classified as "under surveillance" by Reporters Without Borders due to the proposed legislation.
If enacted, the legislation would require Internet service providers to block access to such content for all users.
ii Net had sought legal advice and accepted the s313 mandatory notice but would not reveal the legal advice publicly.
A collection of both federal and state laws apply to Internet content in Australia.
In 2009, the Open Net Initiative found no evidence of Internet filtering in Australia, but due to legal restrictions ONI does not test for filtering of child pornography.
In October 2008, a policy extending Internet censorship to a system of mandatory filtering of overseas websites which are, or potentially would be, "refused classification" (RC) in Australia was proposed.
While the Australian constitution does not explicitly provide for freedom of speech or press, the High Court has held that a right to freedom of expression is implied in the constitution, and the government generally respects these rights in practice.
Internet censorship in Australia currently consists of a regulatory regime under which the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has the power to enforce content restrictions on Internet content hosted within Australia, and maintain a "black-list" of overseas websites which is then provided for use in filtering software.
The restrictions focus primarily on child pornography, sexual violence, and other illegal activities, compiled as a result of a consumer complaints process.