The Coalition government has outlined a range of pre-election commitments aimed at protecting children and families from online threats.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has tabled the government’s plan to bolster online safety if re-elected later this month.
The initiatives include:
- a $23 million eSafety Schools package to provide training programs for teachers, new and improved online safety resources for schools and enhance the Trusted eSafety Provider Program, which connects schools with external online safety providers;
- improving the availability of stronger parental control software for smartphones and tablet devices through a binding industry code under the Online Safety Act;
- $10 million for the eSafety Commissioner to further expand coordination with other regulatory and law enforcement agencies to better deliver support services to victims;
- legislating the Social Media (Anti-Trolling) laws to hold social media companies accountable for online abuse; and
- earmarking $2 million under the Online Safety Grants for projects that support women and girls in CALD communities.
“Our kids should be able to learn, be entertained, or connect with their friends and family without facing abuse, humiliation or online predators,” Prime Minister Morrison said.
“The online world cannot be a cowards’ cavern where the rules of the real world do not exist.”
Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Paul Fletcher said the same rules and laws should apply in the “real world” and the digital world.
"The online world should not be an ungoverned space,” Minister Fletcher said.
“The internet has brought incredible benefits for us all, but we will continue to remain vigilant to protect our children from some of the toxic harms they can confront when online.”
- These latest announcements build on a number of initiatives introduced by the government in recent years, including:
the appointment of an eSafety Commissioner in 2015;
- proposing new laws combatting harmful misinformation;
- drafting of new laws to improve online privacy and ensure social media companies give primary consideration to the best interest of the child when handling their personal information;
- establishment of a House Select Committee inquiry into social media and online safety;
- $16.6 million towards Women’s Safety Online to establish a new telephone service to provide support for women and children experiencing technology-facilitated abuse;
- $10 million towards boosting support for online safety NGOs;
- $5 million for eSafety to expand its national awareness campaign, bringing total funding for the current campaign to $10 million;
- a new Online Safety Youth Advisory Council; and
- updates to Australia’s Classification System to protect children against content such as loot boxes in video games and to address content that sexualises children or depicts suicide and violence against women and children.
News Editor – Defence and Security, Momentum Media
Prior to joining the defence and aerospace team in 2020, Charbel was news editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business, where he covered developments in the banking and financial services sector for three years. Charbel has a keen interest in geopolitics and international relations, graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a double major in politics and journalism. Charbel has also completed internships with The Australian Department of Communications and the Arts and public relations agency Fifty Acres