The Senate has waved through a bill to establish a children's e-Safety Commissioner to take a national leadership role in protecting children on the web.
The Enhancing Online Safety for Children Bill 2014 passed the Senate with bipartisan support.
The Government expects to announce the appointment of the Children’s e-Safety Commissioner in coming weeks.
After that point, the next priorities will be to commence the operation of the Office of the Commissioner.
This will include significant resources being transferred in from other areas of the Australian public service.
The government will then implement the operation of the effective complaints system to get harmful cyberbullying material down fast from large social media services.
This is expected to occur over the course of this year.
More announcements will be made as key milestones are reached, according to parliamentary secretary to the communications minster, Paul Fletcher.
“This is a very significant milestone in the Government’s work to make the internet safer for Australian children,” he said.
“The measures in the Bill implement the Coalition’s 2013 election commitment to establish a Children’s e-Safety Commissioner to take a national leadership role in online safety for children, and to establish an effective complaints system, backed by legislation, to get harmful cyberbullying material down fast from large social media services.
He said it was very pleasing to see the bipartisan support for this Bill - which in turn reflects the message that politicians across the spectrum are hearing from Australia’s parents, children and teachers about the importance of keeping children safe online – and doing more to protect children against the threat of cyberbullying.
“Research commissioned by the Abbott Government found that in a single year one in five Australian children between the ages of 8 and 17 were exposed to cyberbullying.”
This Bill complements measures to enhance online safety for children, including a commitment of $10 million, comprising $7.5 million for online safety programmes in schools, $2.4 million to establish and operate the Office of the Children’s e‐Safety Commissioner and $100,000 to support Australian-based research and information campaigns on online safety.
Following final agreement by the House of Representatives which is not contentious and is expected to occur over coming days, the Bill will receive Royal Assent and pass into law.