South Australian MPs Want Better Online Protection for Women


Nicole Flint, a member of Parliament in Boothby, South Australia, is calling on the Australian Government to uncover online vandalism and abusers and expand the bill to include additional protection for women.

By submitting 60 pages to Special Committee on Social Media and Online SafetyFlint also presents evidence of women’s online abuse in social media and public roles, the catastrophic consequences it can have on women, and how legislative improvements can enhance protection. I made a suggestion.

“It is clear that there are serious and serious problems with the abuse of women online,” she said in her submission.

“It is well known that such abuse leads to slander and abuse of women, including sexual harassment, sexual assault and domestic violence.”

Flint gives some examples of women in the public sphere suffering from online or social media abuse. This includes Leigh Sales, a Walkley Award-winning ABC journalist who regularly reports on online abuse and is also personally victimized.

For example, after an ABC interview with Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Sales talked about the hatred comments she received, including unpleasant sexual orientation comments.

In the same article, Sales said that ABC’s Lisa Miller had been similarly abused on Twitter and was so annoyed that she invalidated her account.

Another example is Erin Molan, a former Nine News sports presenter. He talked about the “sneaky” experience of online abuse that took him to a “pretty dark place” in a 60 Minutes episode titled “Anti-Social Media.”

She said she had a sexual relationship with colleagues and executives, inviting the troll to comment “you are ugly”, “you belong to the kitchen”, etc. to be the moderator of the sport. Said.

Flint himself said he was also the target of an online attack before the 2019 federal elections. This was stated in the 2019 submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Election Issues.

“GetUP, trade unions and the Labor Party have carried out aggressive, relentless and deeply personal campaigns against me,” said a Liberal Party lawmaker.

“I was harassed, faced vulgar and abusive attacks, and often afraid of personal safety.”

She said these campaigns attacked her using all possible means, including social media and email.

In her recent submission, Flint said that the purpose of online attacks is not only to undermine the credibility of women, but also to prevent the participation of other women, so that female victims are public, such as democracy and employment. In such public places, it emphasizes that it is to prevent participation in the place.

She said existing laws and voluntary industry practices cannot discourage or prevent this behavior.

“Overall, more legislation needs to be enacted to protect women and reduce sexist, misogyny, and sexist attacks and abuses that lead to more serious harm to women.”

This was after the Australian Government announced a new bill on December 1st last year that would force social media platforms to disclose the identity of online trolls.

If passed, the new law will become one of the most powerful online trolling laws in the world, and social media companies will be considered publishers and will be held liable for defamatory comments posted on the platform. Become.

However, companies can avoid liability by revealing the identity of the individual accused of defamation. This allows you to initiate proceedings against the person responsible for trolling rather than the company.

Flint states in his submission that this proposed law for identifying trolls and abusers is useful, but the responsibility for tracking down the perpetrator lies with the victim.

“We must consider additional protection for women so that victims of this behavior do not bear the brunt of ending it,” she said.

As part of her recommendation, Flint proposes to amend the Sexism Act of 1984, the Criminal Code of 1995 to do the same, and monitor success, etc., to strengthen the protection of women. doing. Online Safety Act 2021 Determine if it provides real protection for women online, and if women are still unable to act free from sexist or misogynistic abuse in an online or social media environment, all provisions. Strengthen.

Submissions are currently closed and a report from the selection committee on social media and online safety will be published on February 15.

Steve Milne

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Steve is a Sydney-based Australian reporter with sports, arts and politics. He is an experienced English teacher, a qualified nutritionist, a sports enthusiast, and an amateur musician. Contact him at [email protected]

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