Wed, 04 Dec 2019 - 20:48
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Questions Without Notice: eSafety Commissioner

Dr Martin (Reid): My question is to the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts. Will the minister outline how the Morrison government is building Australia's resilience to online harm through the work of the eSafety Commissioner?

Mr Fletcher: (Bradfield—Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts): I thank the member for Reid for her question. As a child psychologist, she certainly understands the importance of helping to keep children and adults safe against harm they can face online and the importance of children and adults being resilient. Australia has been at the forefront of taking action to keep people safe online. As a world first, we established the Children's eSafety Commissioner in 2015. Since then its responsibilities have been expanded to become the eSafety Commissioner. The Prime Minister, earlier this year, secured a commitment from G20 governments that we expect the internet industry to do more to protect citizens against terrorism and violent extremism online.

The eSafety Commissioner is promoting online safety with $100 million for initiatives over the next four years. There's a national online eSafety hub—eSafety.gov.au—and I say to any young person, any parent or any educator who has concerns about online safety to please go to eSafety.gov.au. The eSafety Commissioner is preventing online harm, for example, by developing safety by design principles, which are getting significant traction in the tech sector. Of course, our government acted very rapidly following the atrocious Christchurch attack, where the murder of more than 50 people was live streamed online. We legislated tough new laws about abhorrent violent material online, and the eSafety Commissioner has acted to block access to fringe websites which were hosting this appalling video.

The eSafety Commissioner is protecting Australians with practical tools to deal with cyberbullying material directed at Australian children, to deal with intimate images being shared without consent online and to deal with prohibited and illegal material. The eSafety Commissioner administers schemes to deal with various kinds of material and has resolved more than 1,500 cyberbullying complaints in the last four years and is sometimes able to get that material down within as little as 30 minutes.

The internet is a wonderful resource of information, of entertainment and of social connection, but it must be safe for users. That is why the Morrison government has articulated, on behalf of the Australian community, our very clear expectations of the internet industry, and we are backing those expectations with the force of law.