House debates

Monday, 18 March 2024

Private Members' Business

Online Safety

11:15 am

Photo of Andrew WallaceAndrew Wallace (Fisher, Liberal National Party) Share this | Hansard source

It was a committee that decided unanimously to recommend that government introduce a system of age verification for online pornography, as did the former member for Dunkley and as did the current Deputy Speaker, the member for Macquarie. Labor members of the committee recommended that government introduce age verification for online pornography, because, Mr Deputy Speaker, you heard what I heard. We heard about innumerable instances and occasions of young women being assaulted by young men because of what they saw online through online pornography.

You can't go into a newsagent's and buy pornography when you are under 18. So why should you be able to access pornography on the internet when you are under 18? All we were asking is that the real world replicates the online world. Mr Deputy Speaker, you heard what I heard. You heard evidence of young women who'd had the most horrible things done to them because young men, in particular, have grown up with a fairly perverted concept of what a healthy sex life is, because of what they see in online pornography. You heard it. You agreed to it, Mr Deputy Speaker, as did all Labor members on that committee. Yet the minister comes in here and says: 'No, no, no; we shouldn't be doing this. Let the porn industry police themselves. Let them come up with a code of conduct.'

We just listened to the previous speaker talk, quite frankly, rubbish. Those members opposite are suggesting that the perfect be the enemy of the good. But no system is perfect. No system designed by human beings is perfect. That doesn't mean you don't try to fix something that is clearly a societal problem. I was listening to a Michelle Grattan podcast this morning—Conversations. Her most recent guest was again saying that pornography amongst young people, particularly young men, is having a very significant impact on the welfare of young women. And, quite frankly, it is not just young people. It is men my age who are watching pornography online and then trying to live out that false life in their real life, and it is having significant impacts on women—on domestic violence rates, on sexual assault rates. I cannot for the life of me understand why members opposite, including the minister, don't come in here and say: 'You know what? This bill that the member for Banks has put up is a good idea. Let's trial it.' The evidence is there. This is in place now in the United Kingdom, amongst other countries. What does it hurt to trial it? Do not let the perfect be the enemy of the good. It is common sense. I know members opposite think this is a good idea. You did. All the members on the committee did. Just try and get your minister to see sense and support this bill.


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