EASSC Publications


Hiding Behind the “Great Firewall of China”: American interference in Australian internet governance

Date of this Version


Document Type

Conference Paper


A modest proposal to regulate the internet proposed by an incoming Labor Party in Australia in 2007 caused a public policy scandal with implications felt still in the current day. The ‘clean feed debate’ of 2008-2012 took the form of widespread public protest against a plan to align government regulation of domestically and externally hosted illegal website content. Rhetorically, protest against the plan adopted stereotyped ideas about Chinese government internet regulation. Public concern about ‘going down the China road’ raged in the absence of information about the comprehensive regulatory measures of the British government on internet pornography, which came into place during the years of Australia’s ‘clean feed debate’. American internet company representatives were active in Australia’s media in promoting the focus on China (and not the UK). A number of these companies, particularly Google, had run afoul of Chinese internet rules immediately prior to this period, and their experience led them to actively lobby the Australian government and media against the ‘clean feed’ proposal. This presentation will describe American encroachment on Australian cyber-sovereignty in terms of policymaking on internet regulation.

Journal, Book or Conference Title

East Asia Security Symposium and Conference 东亚安全座谈谈论会

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This document has been peer reviewed.