Thursday, 13 May 2010
Cyber-Safety Committee; Reference
- That the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety include in its terms of reference:
- the merit of establishing an Online Ombudsman to investigate, advocate and act on cyber-safety issues; and
- the risk of online gambling and simulated gambling applications, particularly those accessible to children.
I understand there is an amendment to the motion.
I have had some useful discussions in the last 24 hours with Senator Ludlam, who has been very helpful, on expanding the terms of reference; with Senator Barnett, who is on the committee; and with Senator Wortley as the chair of the committee. I will not seek to have the Senate divide on this. I would prefer that we included the issue of gambling, but I understand where the government and, indeed, the opposition are coming from.
It is helpful that the issue of an online ombudsman will be considered by this committee, because I think that that is an integral part of this. In relation to the issue of online gambling, as I understand it there will be submissions invited generally on the issue of gambling online, but I concede that it would be more appropriate for a committee looking at the Interactive Gambling Act and the issue of online gambling, to consider this at a later stage.
I understand the Productivity Commission report will need to be released in the next few weeks, and I can foreshadow that I will be pushing for terms of reference looking at this and issues of online gambling generally in regulation, once that report is released. So I can live with this compromise, and I am grateful for the consideration given by Senators Wortley, Barnett and Ludlam so that we can get on with this in terms of an online ombudsman being considered.
Briefly in support of the motion and the amendment, the Greens had considered and would have supported the original motion as it stood—and that included the hazards of online gambling. Given the way the work of the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety seems to be panning out with a specific focus on children, I certainly was not aware of the risks there. I think there will be merit, if not at this opportunity then certainly some time down the track, in making ourselves aware of what those risks are and what it is exactly that kids are being confronted with in that domain. In terms of the online ombudsman, I think that potentially is a useful piece of policy architecture. It is something that does not exist yet. I look forward to that being part of the mix and part of the debate in that joint committee on cybersafety.
Question agreed to.
Original question, as amended, agreed to.