Doorstop – Safer Internet Day > Mitch Fifield, Liberal Senator for Victoria


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Doorstop – Safer Internet Day

Clifton Primary School
11.30 am
5 February 2019

E & OE


Senator, obviously it’s Safer Internet Day. What’s the key message do you think for Safer Internet Day?


The key message of Safer Internet Day is that we should all treat each other with respect online. That the ordinary norms and rules that apply in the physical world should also apply in the online world. And it’s particularly important for students and for young people to be aware that the internet is a great thing, but there are also dangers there. And if there’s anything that they see that they think is wrong, or any behaviour that they’re experiencing which is wrong, then they should tell their parents or they should tell their teachers. And the Office of the eSafety Commissioner is there with advice to help. 


How do legislators go about keeping up with technology like this? Or can you? Do our legislators have a role there to make sure that the internet is a safe place, and how can they go about doing that?


Australia’s leading the world in online safety. We have the world’s first eSafety Commissioner which is a resource for the community, also has an education function and important enforcement powers. We’ve legislated the world’s first cyber-bullying takedown regime which gives the eSafety Commissioner the power to direct social media organisations to take down child cyber-bullying material.

If it’s an area where we’re always looking to see if we can do more. We’ve legislated criminal penalties where there is sharing of intimate images without permission. And we’ve also given the eSafety Commissioner civil penalties in that area. And at the end of last year, we announced that we’re going to be establishing a social media charter where the Government, on behalf of the community, will outline to the platforms our expectations of their responsibilities. 


And I mean I guess it is such a global thing too, though, isn’t it? It requires quite a bit of global coordination between governments around the world?


There’s a strong cooperation between the Office of the eSafety Commissioner and Australian Federal Police with partner agencies overseas, because many of the activities online that are harmful to kids cross borders, originate beyond Australia. So there’s good and close cooperation. 


Ok, I think that’s good. Thanks very much. Good to see you. 


Good to see you. 


Authorised by Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, Liberal Party of Australia, Parliament House, Canberra.