House debates

Monday, 24 June 2013

Private Members' Business


7:44 pm

Photo of Amanda RishworthAmanda Rishworth (Kingston, Australian Labor Party, Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the member for Wannon for showing support for his colleague, the member for Forrest. The issues of cyber safety and cyber crime are very important issues. When we come to this issue there is a very broad range of behaviours that we are talking about online. The internet has opened up worlds that we never dreamt of. It helps business with the convenience of banking online and to do massive transactions and connect with the rest of the world. For households and for young people, as the member for Wannon illustrated, it is about keeping in touch. A lot of young people do not have the conventional mobile phone. Instead, they contact people through Twitter, Facebook and a whole lot of other apps that I am not even aware of. When it comes to households and families, there is education that is done online and there are health services that are now directly provided online. There are a whole range of important services and activities for people online. However, with this opening up of a world online, there are dangers, and those dangers are presented to businesses, families and children.

I was very pleased that in the 42nd Parliament I had the privilege to serve on the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications when the committee did the 'Hackers, fraudsters and botnets' inquiry. That, for me, was a huge eye-opener in terms of some of the crime that can be conducted on the internet. I know we all laugh sometimes about the emails, usually originating from Nigeria and a range of other places, that try and convince you to donate money, saying that you have either won or inherited money. For a lot of people that are familiar with the internet, these are able to be laughed off and deleted. But these are getting more sophisticated and people are falling for them, especially people that are not familiar with the internet. I have heard numerous stories in which people have been caught out by these scams and have put over large amounts of money, so it is important that we continue to work to educate the community on these scams.

I am very pleased that information and advice through a free alert service that the government has provided can alert people, if they sign up to it through the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's SCAMwatch, to some of those scams. I want to send an important message out to people. I know people feel a bit embarrassed if they get caught in these scams, but please do report it, because this provides the Australian Federal Police with important information to detect and hunt down some of these people, which can be quite difficult.

Of course, cybersafety also affects governments and countries, and we always have to be vigilant to ensure that our country and our government are up with the latest technology from other countries around the world. That is really important and we have to take that security very seriously. We also have to take the security of our individual computers very seriously. We need to recognise that it is a collective responsibility to keep our computers and ourselves safe. It is a responsibility of everyone that uses the internet, so I would encourage families and individuals to make sure that they keep up to date with their virus protection—that is very important. I am also pleased that many of the ISPs have come on board and are working with the government and the community to identify cyberthreats and to have a look at some of these important safety issues.

That, I guess, is the more criminal aspect. There is also the other very serious aspect that affects our young people, which is cyberbullying. This is a really difficult thing, because young people who are bullied at a cyber level can never escape it. It is with you in your phone when you go to bed; it is on your computer; it is at school—you can never escape it. So cyberbullying is a really important issue. I am so glad that last month 700 schools participated in National Cyber Security Awareness Week. It is important to make sure that we are getting this into discussion. I commend this motion to the House.


No comments