For anyone who's had their head buried in the sand for the last year or two, the Kev and Wayne show deserves congratulations for taking the singularly most awful policy that the previous government had even considered tabling and running with it.

The policy disaster? The notion that they should create The Great Firewall of Australia, an Internet filtering project so ridiculous in both reason and scope that it dwarfs even China's efforts at censorship.

The first issue is a simple legal versus moral one. The whole point of declaring an activity or practice illegal is that it's a codification of society's collective values. In other words, if enough of us disagree with a particular activity (for example, killing people because one doesn't like the colour of their skin) then we make it illegal. "Immoral" doesn't come into it, except that sufficient people's assertion of "immoral" generally leads to "illegal" status.

In a few words: if you think it's immoral but it's not currently illegal, then not enough people agree with you. So either persuade people to agree with you and have the law changed, or shut up.

Let's use an imaginary person in our example. We'll call him Kevin. Kevin  doesn't like illegal things, which is fine, good, and a reflection of society's values. Good for Kevin. Kevin also doesn't like what he sees as immoral things, such as pornography. Kevin also has pronounced views on what people should be permitted to discuss, and believes in particular that people should not be able to talk about him, his mates or the way he runs the organisation of which he's the chief. Unfortunately, Kevin is in a position to have these beliefs enforced. These are arbitrary beliefs that have not been ratified by the Australian people, and yet our mate Kevin decides that his personal beliefs are more important than those of the Australian people. Well done, Kevin. We love you, Kevin.

Even if you agree with Kevin on all counts, you have to agree that in order to have a functioning democracy, unless content is illegal (not immoral), access to it should not be prevented. "Immoral" according to Kevin's opinion doesn't equate to "illegal" according to the Australian people, so the government has no mandate to prevent access.

The second issue is one of technical practicality. There are a million and one articles from various experts in all forms of Internet architecture, not one of which says anything other than that it's approaching impossible to prevent access to illegal content without also accidentally preventing access to some legal content. It's also likely to slow Internet access down by a factor of between 4 and 20, and cost some ridiculous amount of cash. Ask any content filtering expert about the plan and they'll snigger quietly, then turn purple and start ranting. It's just not feasible.

Yet another issue is the corruptibility of such a system. History has shown so many times that the first side-effect of censorship is to censor the discussion of said censorship. How long will it be before publication of the blacklist itself becomes illegal? (Answer to rhetorical question: as soon as the legislation can be snuck through parliament.) Luckily for us, WikiLeaks has published a list here: Australian government secret ACMA internet censorship blacklist, 6 Aug 2008 - Wikileaks. Are you on it? You'd better check now, because soon you won't be allowed to.

The final issue is simply this: the Australian people do not want the bloody thing. They never asked for it and have been given no opportunity to directly express their wishes. If Kev and Wayne are so confident that it's a good thing, Kev and Wayne should take it to a referendum. It's a serious enough issue, and impacts so much of our long-term economic and cultural identity that it deserves one. The alternative is to just take it to the next election, and we all know where that'll lead.

In the mean time, people: you voted for them, now you're getting what you voted for. Did you vote for someone who'd actually listen to their electorate and pay attention to what their constituents want?

Time will tell.