The Hon Michelle Rowland MP
Minister for Communications
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Canberra ACT 2600
Re Pilot program for age verification in Australia
We the undersigned are writing to request a re-think of the Federal Government’s decision not to proceed with an age verification system to help protect children from exposure to pornography, as recently announced by yourself on behalf of the Government.
Early porn exposure harms developing sexual templates, contributes to damaging stereotypes, the development of sexist ideas, the normalisation of violence against women and a rise in child-on-child sexual abuse. These harms were placed on the record by academics, educators, child safeguarding NGOs, and experts in child development and welfare in submissions to the Inquiry into Age Verification for Online Wagering and Online Pornography conducted by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs.Read more
It is well established that many children in Australia are accessing pornography online and that exposure harms them.
Despite growing awareness of and concern about these harms there has been little meaningful action at government level. It is time to put the wellbeing of the community over the vested interests of the porn industry. It is time to stop children’s exposure to online pornography.
Exposing children to porn harms their healthy sexual development and contributes to children acting out in inappropriate ways, including by sexually abusing other children. Australian children need protection. You can’t buy alcohol or tobacco or play the pokies without proving you are over 18. Yet there is no proof of age requirement for our kids to access hard-core porn sites. Porn harms children – it trains boys to see girls and women as objects to be used not as equals to be respected. Age verification (18+) for online pornography is a must.
- In 2019 Collective Shout wrote a submission for the Inquiry into Age Verification for Online Wagering and Online Pornography.
- The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs released their report 'Protecting the Age of Innocence' on age verification for online wagering and online pornography in Feb 2020.
- The parliamentary committee published a media release in March 2020 recommending age verification.
In its report the Committee has recommended that the eSafety Commissioner and the Digital Transformation Agency take the lead on further work towards implementing a system of mandatory age verification for online wagering and pornography in Australia.
- In April 2021 the government had still not responded. We launched our campaign for the government to act.
- In March 2023, eSafety submitted a roadmap on age verification to the Australian Government for consideration. It allegedly included complementary measures to prevent and mitigate harm to children from online pornography.
1) Ask the Minister for Communications Michelle Rowland MP and the Australian Prime Minister Hon Anthony Albanese MP to release the eSafety report
2) Contact your Federal Member to also ask the Communications Minister to release the eSafety report.
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We love to see our supporters engaging in our campaigns and challenging those who profit from the sexual exploitation of women and girls.Read more