Keeping our children safe online

The Enhancing Online Safety for Children Bill 2014 establishes a Children's e-Safety Commissioner to administer a complaints system for cyberbullying material targeted at an Australian child.

The complaints system will include a two-tiered scheme for the rapid removal of any cyberbullying material.

Cyberbullying is an issue that will only become more prevalent as Australia and the world further embrace technology.

Cyberbullying can be targeted towards people from all walks of life, from the young to the old.

It does not discriminate.

The impacts can be far-reaching and permanent.

Research shows one in 10 young people have been cyberbullied—and I would say the figure in reality is far, far greater. In my discussions with students at one of Canberra’s high schools, it appeared 80 per cent of them had experienced some form of cyberbullying.

Labor supports this bill, subject to the recommendations of a Senate committee due to report next month. The bill requires each social media service comply with a set of basic online safety requirements.

If a social media service fails to comply with the requirements, a request to remove subject material, or a social media service notice, then the commissioner may make a statement to that effect and publish it on its website.

Social media services can also be fined if they fail to comply.

Labor will do all it can to combat online bullying.

The internet has the capacity to transform this country. Through the internet, the vastness of our land will no longer be a barrier to education, to health, to culture or to community.

However, with expanded opportunity comes expanded risk and cybersafety is an issue that we will face well into the future.

Cybersecurity is a collective responsibility, shared by all who use the internet. It is government's role to ensure the right system is in place to protect those users, particularly the most vulnerable: our children.

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