Page 2758 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 16 August 2017
results, and they will bring the bill more closely into compliance with the national principles. These amendments are fundamentally the result of bringing the resources and advice of government to support this tripartisan effort.
Although we have decided that this bill will implement the new crime position, we acknowledge that the contributions Ms Le Couteur and her office have made have been significant as well. Through their close scrutiny of the bill and amendments, we have a stronger outcome. Members will be aware that Ms Le Couteur introduced the Crimes (Invasion of Privacy) Amendment Bill 2017 in the last sitting period. As its title implies, Ms Le Couteur’s bill goes beyond just the sharing of intimate images. It covers a wide range of issues in the law of sexual assault, intimate partner violence and privacy.
This broader piece of work has meant that a number of community organisations were able to give their views about the key legal issues in dealing with sexual assault and privacy in the justice system. The consultation process that Ms Le Couteur undertook will inform future work on ensuring that our laws and procedures are focused on protecting victims.
In fact, many of the issues raised are worthy of considered law reform work in their own right. Mr Ramsay asked my directorate to examine the views raised as it analyses the royal commission’s recommendations for criminal justice reform. The recommendations, released this past Monday, cover a wide range of issues about criminal laws and procedures and will require a thorough evaluation. The scope and size of this project make it more appropriate for considering and responding to the community viewpoints raised by Ms Le Couteur’s bill.
Today, in the spirit of tripartisanship, we have all agreed to support Mr Hanson’s bill for its clear and singular focus on the crime of intimate image abuse. And we have all worked together to ensure that, as passed, the bill will appropriately target and criminalise this form of abuse.
For victims of this crime, it will mean that there is now legislation that clearly and directly looks at that behaviour. Prior to today’s vote, there were a range of statutes used to prosecute this crime. For example, this behaviour might have been prosecuted as stalking, or as using a carriage service to harass a person. But none of the statutes previously used for this crime specifically targeted non-consensual sharing of an image. After today’s vote, the behaviour of sharing a person’s intimate images without consent will itself be a crime.
Another feature that all three parties have supported is that the courts will have the power to order offenders to take reasonable action to remove, retract or delete intimate images involved in an offence. It will be a further crime, and there will be further penalties, if offenders refuse to comply. So not only will this bill create a new targeted offence but also it will give the courts the power to order steps to try to minimise the consequences.