Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 August 2017) . . Page.. 2759 ..
The message to Canberrans today is clear: there is no tolerance for intimate image abuse in this community, and we are united in taking action against it. Today’s tripartisan vote will mean stronger criminal laws to protect Canberrans, and represents a powerful expression of our support for victims.
MS LE COUTEUR (Murrumbidgee) (11.15): I rise today to agree in principle with the bill tabled by Mr Hanson, knowing, of course, as well that there will be a series of amendments put forward by the government for consideration. As Mr Gentleman said, I am very happy to agree with this, because all three parties—the Greens, the Labor Party and the Liberal Party—have worked together to develop legislation which is better legislation than was originally put forward. It is legislation which will make sharing or threatening to share intimate images a criminal offence. Discussions have been had between all the parties and, as Mr Gentleman said, we and of course the Liberal Party have had input into the amendments put forward by the government today.
The Greens have long pursued this issue. We lead on it. We made it an election commitment last year. I tabled a petition on the issue in March this year, and we did the hard yards in doing the research, doing the consultation and taking the hits in the public discourse to lead the public conversation about it. This bill does not get us everything that we wanted, but it does get a lot, and we will continue to work on some of the areas which we feel require more work.
The exposure draft that I tabled in May this year and the subsequent bill that I tabled in August this year are much broader than what we are debating today. However, this issue is too important for politicking. We will be supporting Mr Hanson’s bill with the amendments today and be doing further work. Today we are just going to focus on intimate images and the criminalisation of non-consensual sharing of these images and the threat to capture or share these images. This is why we are not debating Mr Hanson’s bill cognately with my own: because I do understand the need for tripartisan agreement on important issues like this. Today we are all focused on passing the legislation which addresses the issues around intimate image sharing. I look forward to further discussions about the broader privacy and consent issues raised in my bill.
As we are all aware by now, and has been previously stated in this place by both me and Mr Hanson, intimate image abuse is becoming more widespread. It is a widespread problem in our community and it is time that it was criminalised here in the ACT. Over 80 per cent of Australians support us in this endeavour. This behaviour can cause extreme psychological distress and, unfortunately, has even led to loss of life on occasions. We know that one in five people in Australia have experienced such abuse and that our laws need to change to keep up with the times.
The commonwealth Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee recommended that all states and territories enact criminal legislation to address the non-consensual recording of and sharing of, and threatening to share, intimate images. I am pleased today to be part of the ACT’s solution to this important issue. In