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Stephen Conroy, the communications minister, was accused of plotting a "great firewall of Australia" when he said on Tuesday that the legislation, to be introduced early next year, would require all internet service providers to block objectionable material hosted on overseas servers.
He said such material would include "child sex abuse content, bestiality, sexual violence and the detailed instruction of crime and drug use".
Senator Conroy said: "Most Australians acknowledge there is some internet content which is not acceptable in any civilised society.
"It is important that all Australians, but especially children, are protected from this material."
Similar content on domestically hosted websites can already be banned if the sites are included on a blacklist drawn up by the Australian Communications and Media Authority, a government body.
They have a constitution much like the United States that allows freedom of speech