Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 16 August 2017) . . Page.. 2762 ..
I am calling on the Assembly to support my bill, when it is tabled, to bring the ACT into line with the rest of Australia on consent and to go further—to make sure that consent has to be communicated to have an effect—and to commit to a time frame for these reforms. But right now I assure the Canberra community and those from around the nation who responded to our discussion paper that their feedback has not been ignored.
I finish by reminding us all here that it is all well and good to introduce stronger protections and criminalisation for non-consensual sharing of intimate images, but to be effective this has to be accompanied by strategies that educate the community and campaigns that educate our young people about what is okay and what is not okay to share on social media, and what actions can be taken if you are so victimised, including promotion of non-legal remedies.
This is an issue that I have harped upon in relation to other issues, on building in particular. It is all very well having laws, but the laws need to be communicated, educated about and then enforced. I think that on this issue, which is particularly seeking to regulate people’s private behaviour, education is the key to success in this area.
In spite of the additional work we have identified, I am satisfied that the legislation currently before the Assembly will provide better protections for Canberrans against the ever-increasing phenomenon of using social media and other platforms to abuse, denigrate, threaten, extort, coerce and vilify others by the non-consensual taking of, sharing of or threatening to take or share intimate images.
I thank the many people within the government and within each of the parties in this place who have worked hard on the legislation and the many amendments to Mr Hanson’s bill. I also thank all the individuals, experts and community groups who have made submissions to my bill for their contributions, as I understand the huge amount of work, energy and resources required. I am sure they will be pleased that their feedback and research fed straight into negotiations with the Liberal and Labor parties. Some of this work is now part of the amendments which we will be passing today.
The Greens are pleased to support this legislation today and hope that, along with the good public education campaigns which I alluded to, this will help guide people’s understanding about what appropriate image sharing can be.
MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Women and Minister for Sport and Recreation) (11.28): I am happy to support this bill and the changes that it makes to protect people against intimate image abuse. I am the first ACT Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence. I take this issue very seriously. I want to acknowledge the hard work of the Attorney-General’s staff with Mr Hanson’s office and with the Greens party office also to make some sensible and workable amendments to this bill.