Senate passes Enhancing Online Safety for Children Bill

The Member for Forrest Nola Marino has welcomed the progression of the Government’s Enhancing Online Safety for Children Bill 2014, which today passed the Senate with bipartisan support.

“Over the past four years, much of my time has been spent providing cybersafety and cyberbullying sessions for schools—from preschool through to year 12” Mrs Marino said. “In my experience during this time, the majority of young people and their parents are not aware of online risks, particularly those on social media sites.”

“This is why the legislation passed today is so important.”

The measures in the Bill implement the Coalition’s 2013 election commitment to establish a Children’s e‐Safety Commissioner to take a national leadership role in online safety for children, and to establish an effective complaints system, backed by legislation, to get harmful cyberbullying material down fast from large social media services.

“Research commissioned by the Abbott Government found that in a single year one in five Australian children between the ages of 8 and 17 were exposed to cyberbullying” Mrs Marino said. “I want them to be much more aware and alert than they are now; for them to be confident, smart, safe and responsible online so that they can make the most of their online opportunities”.

This Bill complements other Coalition Government measures to enhance online safety for children, including a commitment of $10 million, comprising

$7.5 million for online safety programmes in schools, $2.4 million to establish and operate the Office of the Children’s e‐Safety Commissioner and

$100,000 to support Australian‐based research and information campaigns on online safety.

Following final agreement by the House of Representatives which is not contentious and is expected to occur over coming days, the Bill will receive Royal Assent and pass into law.