House debates

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Statements by Members

Online Safety

1:47 pm

Photo of Julian SimmondsJulian Simmonds (Ryan, Liberal National Party) Share this | Hansard source

This government is lifting the veil of secrecy from cowards that are online trolls. I, along with many of my colleagues, have been advocating for reforms that would give Australians the same rights online as they have in the real world. The recent announcements made by the Prime Minister and the Attorney-General do exactly this. They will further protect Australians from harm online and hold big tech accountable. It sends a strong message to those who wish to send violent toxic content and slurs online.

Let's be clear about what we are talking about tackling. It's not about the slings and arrows of public debate or censoring the Left and the Right, as those opposite want to do. It is about predators targeting and bullying a 14-year-old into suicide. It's about vile predators who harass a person about their looks to the point of them developing anorexia. This is what we are tackling, and Australians have every right to go online without being abused or trolled. Those across from me should support it.

Under these new powers social media companies will be declared as publishers, meaning they are liable for the defamatory remarks unless they actively assist in identifying anonymous trolls. This important reform will help those parents who feel helpless to protect their kids online or to unmask the bully or predator that is targeting their children. For too long social media companies have taken massive profits and turned a blind eye to the effects on the end users. Along with our other measures, we are going to continue to act to keep Australian families safe online.


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