Senator HANSON: I’m really happy to speak on the Enhancing Online Safety (Non-consensual Sharing of Intimate Images) Bill 2017.

This bill has come almost 10 years after my own experience of the degrading, embarrassing and false depiction of me, courtesy of Neil Breen, on the front page of The Sunday Mail and The Sunday Telegraph in March 2009. It was one week—actually it wasn’t even a week; it was six days—out from the 2009 Queensland state election in which I was standing as a candidate. I woke up on that Sunday morning. I bought the paper and saw these images of a woman who was partially nude and the claims that they were pictures of me. Of course, I contacted the newspapers and said, ‘They are not pictures of me.’ I was getting calls in regard to this. Of course my immediate family knew. Even my ex-husband made it quite clear, ‘That’s not her.’ This went on for a week. The newspaper stood by that they were images of me. The dates, the times and the ages did not add up. This was all because it was political. To go through this experience was terribly embarrassing—imagine what the public thought—so I can understand how people feel about their own images.

I remember the last time I was in parliament there was another image put up of me. The image was of me—as the head of another woman being held by the arms by two black men—and I was delivering a baby. I went to the minister with regard to this-this organisation was funded through the ABC—and nothing was done about it. So, yes, it is well and truly overdue for something to be done about this.

I explain with this that, as the old saying goes, sometimes it takes two to tango. I say to anyone out there who thinks that intimate images of themselves are okay to send via text message or email: ‘Stop it. Keep it for the bedroom.’ People, regardless of your age, it’s in what is told to you by your parents and how you feel about yourself: people have to take responsibility for their own actions. Young people who get requests for intimate images of themselves early in relationships should not do it. Relationships don’t always last, and the person they are with may very well turn nasty on them. I’m very pleased to say that One Nation are a part of putting a dent in this abhorrent trend of shaming people using online methods and intimate images, but I reiterate: I want every man, woman and young adult to know that they too must play a role in ensuring their private photos are kept private.

There are some amendments that will be moved today. The Xenophon amendment will make this a criminal offence. One Nation will not be supporting that amendment, on the basis that we have a Criminal Code that covers a lot of this. We have to be very careful here. The younger generation—those under 18 years of age—are taking pictures of themselves and their friends. If you make it a criminal offence, this will be a mark against them for the rest of their lives. We know they do some stupid things, but a criminal record affects your visa, job applications, profession and blue card, and travelling overseas. I suggest we don’t make this a criminal offence. Another thing: if you don’t make it a criminal offence for those who are underage, people who are of adult age will then blame someone who is underage. I just don’t feel that we should be making it a criminal offense.

Labor has put up an amendment to review this in three years time. I do support that. I think it should be reviewed. Let’s look at the bill as a whole as it is at the moment. I think the civil penalties will go far enough. We can then review it. If it’s not working, then we can address it in three years time.

There has been talk in the chamber today of whether it should be an offence to take a photo of anyone wearing a burqa. We have an Australian standard. If they are photographed wearing a burqa, that’s not offensive to the Australian people and it should not come into the act. The burqa is not a religious requirement, so I don’t believe that should even come into it. We have our standards—what we find offensive and what intimate images should not be shown and put across or texted. I commend the bill. We will be supporting this.

Chamber Senate on 13/02/2018Item BILLS – Enhancing Online Safety (Non-consensual Sharing of Intimate Images) Bill 2017 – Second Reading Speaker: Hanson, Sen Pauline

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