Senate debates

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill 2011; Second Reading

Photo of Nick XenophonNick Xenophon (SA, Independent) Share this | Hansard source

I was actually shocked. I told my staff, 'He'll keep talking as he usually does.' I think it is a first for Senator Mason, isn't it, not to use his full 20 minutes? The Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill is an important piece of legislation and the issue of cybercrime is one which challenges law enforcement agencies throughout the world. This bill does attempt to tackle this, and I note that my colleague Senator Ludlam, from the Australian Greens, will be moving a number of amendments in relation to it. I have a particular interest in relation to cybercrime and the tragic case of Carly Ryan, who was murdered several years ago in Adelaide by a person she met online who purported to be somebody completely different and completely misrepresented his age to her. She tragically agreed to meet with him and the consequences of that led to her murder. Sonia Ryan, her mother, has run a courageous and relentless campaign about cybersafety, and we should all be grateful for the work of the Carly Ryan Foundation and her family and loved ones, who honour her memory.

I put up legislation that was not successful in this place that related to issues of misrepresentation, so that, if a person misrepresented their age to a minor, it was qualified in those terms, that in itself would be an offence. At the moment, you need to prove an intent for a prurient purpose, in a sense. That is very problematic for our law enforcement agencies, and I think it is worth raising in the context of the committee stages of this bill because I believe it shows how the internet—which is a force for good in terms of communications and bringing people together, of telemedicine and the whole range of wonderful things that the internet can do—can be a source of allowing criminal activities, of allowing predators to ply their trade, in a sense, much more easily.


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