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Wednesday, 16 March 2016
Page: 2158

Senator RYAN (VictoriaMinister for Vocational Education and Skills) (16:53): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute, Senator Ryan.

Senator RYAN: Thank you. The coalition government recognises that cyberbullying is an issue of concern. This week, the Children's eSafety Commissioner, Alastair MacGibbon, has been in Parliament House providing online safety training for MPs, senators and staff in preparation for the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence.

Technology related crime is a complex issue which involves both state and Commonwealth offences, and we acknowledge that revenge porn is emerging as an issue of concern in the community. That is why this government put it on the COAG agenda to ensure that the Commonwealth, states and territories are working together to ensure there is a coordinated approach. COAG decided on 11 December 2015 that all jurisdictions would consider whether specific offences are necessary to prohibit the distribution of intimate images and a threat do so without consent.

At the Commonwealth level, it is already an offence to use the internet, social media or a mobile phone in a menacing, harassing or offensive manner. Under this offence, section 474.17 of the Criminal Code, there have been over 320 successful prosecutions for a broad range of conduct. The government understands the importance of ensuring that there are effective laws in this area and is considering the issue in consultation with law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and other experts.

Question agreed to.