MICHELLE ROWLAND MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS
MEMBER FOR GREENWAY
ANDREW GILES MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR MULTICULTURAL AFFAIRS
MEMBER FOR SCULLIN
More than two years after the Briggs Review recommended it, the Morrison Government has failed to introduce legislation for a new Online Safety Act.
Yesterday the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, Paul Fletcher, failed to answer the following question: Michelle Rowland: Minister, if you are so committed to introducing a new Online Safety Act to keep Australians safe, why have you failed to introduce a new Online Safety Act, and when is it coming?
In the lead up to the May 2019 Federal Election, the Morrison Government promised to introduce a new Online Safety Act.
In September 2019, the Minister spruiked the new Online Safety Act in answer to questions about what the Government was doing to keep Australians safe online, including in relation to the rise of right-wing extremism, online hate speech and racism in Australia following the Christchurch terrorist atrocity.
A year later, in September 2020, the Minister again spruiked the non-existent Online Safety Act in response to questions about what the Government was doing to curb graphic content on social media platforms in the wake of a self-harm video on Facebook and Tik Tok.
The Minister's October 2020 op-ed kept the promise of a new Online Safety Act alive, while his Department at Senate Estimates put the delay down to "pressures on drafting resources".
This Government talks a big game about its "expectations" of social media platforms yet fails to do its job by updating Australia's online safety laws.
Online safety is not just an empty slogan to be trotted out for elections and media interviews, and should not come second to constraints on drafting resources.
The Morrison Government must not be all announcement and no delivery when it comes to keeping Australians safe online.