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Labor amendments to Broadcasting Services Amendment (Online Services) Bill 1999



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MEDIA STATEMENT

 

Stephen Smith MP

Member for Perth

Shadow Minister for Communications

 

36/99 Monday May 24th 1999

 

 

LABOR AMENDMENTS TO BROADCASTING

SERVICES AMENDMENT (ONLINE SERVICES) BILL 1999

 

Shadow Minister for Communications, Stephen Smith, today released Labor’s amendments to the Broadcasting Services Amendment (Online Services) Bill 1999, which is being debated in the Senate today.

 

“Labor believes that the sensible approach is to empower end-users - parents, guardians and teachers of young Internet users - by way of information, education and access to effective end-user filter devices, appropriate to Australian community standards”, Mr Smith said.

 

Mr Smith said Labor was critical of the Government’s approach, and this would be reflected by a Second Reading amendment to be considered at the conclusion of the Second Reading debate.

 

Labor’s Second Reading amendment will draw attention to:

 

·  The indecent haste with which the Government is pursuing the legislation.

 

·  The Government deliberately seeking to create the impression that its measures would “solve the problem” of unacceptable content, when the reality is (backed by CSIRO advice and industry analysis) it is not feasible to regulate such content as the vast bulk of Internet content is hosted off shore.

 

·  The ease with which the proposals could be by-passed.

 

·  The need for the Government to pursue international agreements with relation to the regulation of Internet content.

 

·  The fact that substantially more effort needs to be placed on end-user empowerment through information and education campaigns for parents, schools and guardians about the use of the Internet and end-user filter-devices.

 

·  The need for the legislation to be reviewed after a suitable period of operation, given the rapid change of technology in this area.

 

Mr Smith said that during the Committee stage debate in the Senate, Labor would move a range of detailed amendments to the Bill, including:

 

·  That the 24 hour “take down” period be extended to 48 hours, and apply only after a process of real and effective notification of a breach;

 

·  That the proposed penalty regime relating to continuing offences be removed or made more equitable;

 

·  That “all reasonable steps” be expressly defined to include end user empowerment, information provision, and advice on end user filter devices, and that such reasonable steps be generally technically feasible, commercially viable and cost effective;

 

·  That the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA) take into account the public interest in not requiring steps which would unreasonably reduce national Internet capacity;

 

·  That the ABA take into account the public interest in ensuring that Australia remains an attractive Internet / e-commerce investment jurisdiction, by not requiring measures which would unreasonably degrade Internet capacity or utility.

 

Mr Smith said that Labor would also move to amend the legislation such that it would be reviewed after an appropriate period of its operation, and that the legislation itself be subject to a three year sunset clause.

 

Media contact:  Patrick Bindon (02) 6277 4108 or 0415 694 878

 

A copy of the Second Reading amendment and the Committee stage amendments is attached.

 

 

1396

 

1998-99

 

The Parliament of the

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

Broadcasting Services Amendment (Online Services)

Bill 1999

 

(Second reading amendment to be moved by Senator Bishop for the Opposition)

 

At the end of the motion, add:

 

“but the Senate expresses its concern that:

(a) the legislation is being dealt with i n indecent haste and with inadequate consideration;

(b) the Government's claim that the legislation will 'solve the problem' of unacceptable content is not supported by the reality that the vast bulk of internet content is generated outside Australia;

(c) the proposals, including the idea of mandatory internet service provider filters, are unworkable and easily by-passed;

(d) the application of the narrowcasting classification regime to the regulation of internet content has not been thoroughly analysed and may well require revisiting in the future, in view of rapidly changing and converging technology;

(e) efforts should be made by the Government to pursue international agreements on the regulation of internet content;

(f) substantially more emphasis should be placed on end-user empowerment through information and education campaigns for parents, schoo ls and guardians about the use of the internet and of end-user filter devices; and

(g) the legislation does not include a sunset clause, or provision for review, given the speed of technological change in this area”.

 

 

 

1397

 

1998-99

 

The Parliament of th e

Commonwealth of Australia

 

THE SENATE

 

Broadcasting Services Amendment (Online Services)

Bill 1999

 

(Amendments to be moved by Senator Bishop for the Opposition in committee of the whole)

 

(1) Page 2 (after line 2), after clause 3, insert:

 

4 Review of operation of Act

 

(1)  he Minister must cause a review to be undertaken of the operation of this Act.

 

(2) A person who undertakes such a review must give the Minister a written report of the review.

 

(3) The Minister must cause a copy of the report to be laid before each House of the Parliament within 15 sitting days of that House after its receipt by the Minister.

 

[review of Act]

 

(2) Page 2 (after line 2), after clause 4, insert:

 

5 Expiration of Act

 

This Act ceases to be in force at the end of 3 years after the day on which it commences.

 

[sunset clause]

 

(3) Schedule 1, item 4, page 3 (lines 25 to 28), omit paragraph (a), substitute:

(a) enables public interest considerations to be addressed in a way that does not:

(i) impose unnecessary finan cial and administrative burdens on Internet content hosts and Internet service providers; and

(ii) degrade the technical performance of the Internet in Australia to a material degree; and

(iii) inhibit the development of Australia as an attractive jurisdiction for the conduct of electronic commerce and for investment in that industry; and

 

[regulatory policy]

 

(4) Schedule 1, item 10, page 28 (line 14), omit '24 hours", substitute "48 hours".

 

[compliance with take-down notice]

 

(5) Schedule 1, item 10, page 28 (line 18), omit '24 hours", substitute "48 hours".

 

[compliance with take-down notice]

 

(6) Schedule 1, item 10, page 28 (line 22), omit '24 hours", substitute "48 hours".

 

[compliance with take-down notice]

 

(7) Schedule 1, item 10, page 29 (line s 31 and 32), omit "the matters set out in subsection 4(3)", substitute:

: (a) the matters set out in subsection 4(3); and

(b) whether the particular steps are technically feasible, commercially viable and cost effective; and

(c) whether the particular steps enable end users to be better informed about the use of, or assisted in the actual use of, filter devices for self-regulation of Internet content.

 

[reasonable steps]

 

(8) Schedule 1, item 10, page 3 5 (lines 2 and 3), omit "the matters set out in subsection 4(3)", substitute:

: (a) the matters set out in subsection 4(3); and

(b) whether the particular steps are technically feasible, commercially viable and cost effective; and

(c) whether the particular steps enable end users to be better informed about the use of, or assisted in the actual use of, filter devices for self-regulation of Internet content.

 

[reasonable steps]

 

(9) Schedule 1, item 10, page 3 5 (line 10), omit "24 hours", substitute "48 hours".

 

[compliance with access-prevention notice ]

 

(10) Schedule 1, item 10, page 35 (line 15), omit '24 hours", substitute "48 hours".

 

[compliance with access-prevention notice]

 

(11) Schedule 1, item 10, page 35 (line 25), omit 'The ABA", substitute "Subject to subsection (1A), the ABA".

 

[substitute d service]

 

(12) Schedule 1, item 10, page 36 (after line 6), after subsection (1), insert:

 

(1A) It is a minimum requirement for a scheme formulated under subclause (1) that each Internet service provider be alerted by electronic means to the existence of a notice.

 

Note: For example, it is not sufficient for the ABA to make notices available on the Internet (with or without security measures) without notifying Internet service providers that a notice has been issued.

 

[substituted service]

 

(13) Schedule 1, item 10, page 36 (lines 7 and 8), omit the note.

 

[substituted service]

 

(14) Schedule 1, item 10, page 55 (lines 21 to 25), clause 82, TO BE OPPOSED .

 

[continuing offences]

 

(15) is an alternative to (14)

 

(15) Schedule 1, item 10, page 55 (line 22), after "subclause 79(4)", insert "without reasonable excuse".

 

[continuing offences]

 

 

 

lk  1999-05-26  11:37