Senate debates

Thursday, 23 August 2018


Enhancing Online Safety (Non-consensual Sharing of Intimate Images) Bill 2018; Consideration of House of Representatives Message

1:24 pm

Photo of Anne RustonAnne Ruston (SA, Liberal Party, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources) Share this | Hansard source

Before I commend this very important piece of legislation to the Senate, I will put on the record a couple of things that have been said by those opposite, particularly in relation to the delay on the passage of civil penalties. There have been some rather misleading comments. It has erroneously been asserted that the government has backflipped in relation to bringing forward additional criminal penalties. It makes laughable a claim that Labor had provided leadership by promising to legislate criminal penalties within 100 days of being elected. The government stood ready to legislate a civil penalty scheme in February this year, and we said, at the same time, that we wanted to separately examine the introduction of criminal penalties. In our view, it would have been better, in the interests of victims of the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, to legislate the civil penalty provisions. Had that happened, they would have been in force now for several months, and they would have been delivering active, practical protection to victims of this conduct for several months. The political grandstanding that we've seen has been a matter of some regret, and I'm sorry that we are here today when we could have been here some time ago. That said, I thank those opposite for their support of this bill. We can now move forward with these very important pieces of legislation with the support of the opposition. I commend the bill to the Senate.


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