Wallace backs age ID

Online age verification trial ‘critical to protecting children’

LOCAL Federal MP Andrew Wallace seconded a private member’s bill this week seeking to amend the Online Safety Act to implement an online age verification trial.
The Member for Fisher met with Opposition Leader, Peter Dutton, at Bravehearts last week to discuss the issue around age verification for online pornographic material.
It follows the release of the esafety commissioner’ “Road map for Age Verification report” earlier this year.
In that report the eSafety Commissioner backed a pilot, finding that “age assurance technologies should be trialled in Australia, based on lessons from pilots conducted elsewhere, before being mandated”.
While Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said the Government would consider a pilot, she said it was too early to fully mandate new technology.
“Technological developments in this space are still new and evolving,” she said.
“Stakeholders have also raised concerns about the effectiveness, privacy and security of these technologies,” Ms Rowland said.
“The Government will seek further information on consideration of a pilot as recommended by the eSafety Commissioner – following the conclusion of the industry codes process, which is a critical step in keeping children safe online.”
But Mr Wallace said the Coalition had “listened to Australian parents and the experts who want to trial this crucial technology to help keep our kids safe online”.
“Australia’s eSafety Commissioner delivered that road map to the Albanese Government in April,” he said.
“In late August, the Federal Labor Government regrettably rejected a core component of that landmark road map for age verification, despite long-standing bipartisan support in Parliament, expert advice, and the wishes of the Australian public.
Shadow Communications Minister David Coleman – who introduced the private member’s bill – said an online age verification trial must be enacted.
“Labor’s decision to oppose an age verification trial was criticised by more than 45 top child and women’s safety leaders who wrote to the Prime Minister and Minister,” Mr Coleman said.
“Families aren’t asking for anything more or less than a Government who will act to keep kids safe online.”