POLITICS

After Carly's Law, Labor Says It's Now Time To Move On Revenge Porn

Vile grooming? Terri Butler says what about the vile sharing of intimate images?

03/03/2017 8:00 AM AEDT | Updated 03/03/2017 9:57 AM AEDT
Andrew Meares/Fairfax
Labor's Terri Butler says "someone" needs to take some unified national action against revenge porn

CANBERRA – There's no doubt there some extremely vile things on the internet and it is hard to tell how much of it is actually illegal or against the conditions of use of some online platforms.

Complaining about hate speech, even rape threats can often come to naught.

The global nature of the internet can make policing difficult, especially if the vile, potentially criminal things are posted in sites hosted outside Australia.

The Turnbull Government moved on Thursday to crack down and jail paedophile predators who lie about their age by supporting the so-called "Carly's Law."

The changes to the Commonwealth criminal code, and potentially impose ten year jail terms on offenders, are as a result of a decade of campaigning by the mother of 15-year-old Carly Ryan, who was murdered in 2007 by a 50-year-old rebuffed paedophile posing online as a musician aged 18.

"Young Australians will have greater protection from the vile grooming of online predators under tough new laws to be introduced by the Australian Government," the Justice Minister Michael Keenan said.

Now Labor's Terri Butler is saying while the government is looking at the criminal code, what about revenge porn?

Said to affect one in 10 Australians, revenge porn offenders -- both in ongoing or broken relationships -- share intimate images, without permission, on websites and social media in an effort to intimidate and humiliate.

"Take the opportunity to move on revenge porn," Butler told The Huffington Post Australia. "It is also something that is the manifestation of coercion and control of women."

"If you want to help the authorities get the legal backing they need to go after people who are engaging in this sort of terrible behaviour you change the Commonwealth law.

"Someone needs to take some unified national action against it and that is something this government is capable of doing provided they develop the will."

Victoria and South Australia have specific revenge porn laws and New South Wales is going down that path, but the Parliament has not passed the laws yet.

Labor wants nationally consistent Commonwealth criminal laws that cover revenge porn and has a private members bill sitting in the House. Butler and fellow Labor MP Tim Watts are concerned offenders can hide Australia's various jurisdictions. While there is existing laws that ban the use of a carrier service to menace and harass, they do not target online images.

"The government should stop making these excuses and just move to criminalise revenge porn," Butler said.

"There is no good reason not to. They just need to move on it. Take a stand.

"Do the right thing and send a message that breaking someone's trust, threatening to harm them or actually harming them by circulating and distributing intimate images of videos is absolutely wrong and should be criminal."

The Turnbull Government is preferring to pursue revenge porn through the civil system over the criminal.

Australia e-Safety Commissioner, Julie Inman-Grant, is involved in setting up a new national civil penalty system for perpetrators of revenge porn.

Civil law deals with disputes between individuals and is different from criminal law.

Minister for Women, Michaelia Cash insists the civil law system will give victims of revenge porn more options.



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