We have been heard: Parliamentary inquiry into age verification for online pornography

Find out how to make a submission to the inquiry

The House of Representatives Social Policy and Legal Affairs Committee has commenced an Inquiry into age verification for online wagering and online pornography.

Collective Shout recently submitted a briefing paper on the issue to the Prime Minister and the Minister for Communications making the case for effective online age verification measures to protect children from exposure to online pornography.

The House of Representatives resolved to conduct an inquiry in response to a referral from the Minister for Communications the Hon Paul Fletcher MP and the Minister for Families and Social Services, Senator the Hon Anne Ruston.

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Media release via Parliament of Australia

Age verification - keeping minors safe online

With 44 per cent of children between 9 and 16 reporting that they have encountered sexual images online, a parliamentary committee has launched an inquiry into the effectiveness of age verification systems on pornographic and gambling websites.

Andrew Wallace, Chair of the Social Policy and Legal Affairs Committee, says there is currently a discrepancy between age verification requirements for online gambling and online pornography.

"While customers must verify their age within 14 days to continue using an online wagering account, an age verification process is not required at all for customers to access online pornography", Mr Wallace said.

"This is concerning, as research shows that accessing pornography negatively influences young peoples’ attitudes to sex, sexuality and relationships."

The Committee will examine the effectiveness of the age verification measures now in place for online wagering in Australia, and the possibility of introducing a similar process to verify the age of users of online pornography.

The Committee acknowledges that accessing online wagering from operators licensed in Australia and online pornography from appropriately classified websites is a legal activity for people aged over 18. The focus of this inquiry is not the legitimate use of online wagering and online pornography.

The Committee welcomes submissions from all people and organisations with insights or perspectives on how online age verification can be made as effective as possible, to prevent children accessing wagering and pornography sites.

Submissions to the inquiry are now open. More information on making a submission, and the inquiry’s full terms of reference, are available on the Committee’s website.

Age Verification (AV) places responsibility on the suppliers of pornography to verify the age of consumers using their sites. AV occurs through utilising a third-party trusted verification process that accesses existing robust data sources (credit card, driver's licence, etc.). AV companies do not hold the data—they request verification from existing sources to ascertain the age of the person requesting to be verified. P*rn sites do not have access to the data.

More information:

Submissions are uploaded onto the government website however you can request that your submission be anonymous if you do not want your name to be published on it. 

You can make a submission online here or via the email below:

Address your submission to:

Committee Secretary
House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs
PO Box 6021
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 2358
Fax: +61 2 6277 8463
spla.reps@aph.gov.au

Making a submission to a Committee Inquiry

Committee statement on the principles for the treatment of evidence

See also:

UK websites forced to adopt age verification

UK age-verification has kids – and parents - at heart

Age Verification Facts


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