Senators Statements - Anti-Trolling Legislation

Social Media: Anti-Trolling Legislation Senator STOKER (Queensland—Assistant Minister to the Attorney-General, Assistant Minister for Women and Assistant Minister for Industrial Relations) (13:58): The Morrison government is tackling the problem of online trolling and ensuring administrators of social media pages aren't liable for the comments that other people make on their page. Our anti-trolling bill ensures that people won't be able to use anonymous social media accounts to defame other people online. It represents action on an issue that so many parents express worry about. Victims of this behaviour will have the ability to unmask an anonymous user, allowing them to pursue them in court. This will ensure that laws governing people's conduct in the real world will also apply for people online. There will be safeguards to ensure that these mechanisms can't be abused. There will also be provisions that allow the Attorney-General to intervene in cases such as where there is a major power imbalance. Importantly, the bill clarifies that people who have social media pages are not liable for defamatory comments that other people make on their pages, resolving an issue of uncertainty that had been created by the High Court's decision in the matter of Voller. Without this reform, countless individuals and businesses could inadvertently get caught up in legal battles for failing to moderate the comments on their posts, even if they lack the time and resources to be able to complete that task. It shifts responsibility for these comments back on to the people who make them. The bill won't solve all problems with social media, of course, but it's an important step and it's using accountability to drive better culture online. The PRESIDENT: It being 2 pm, we'll move to questions without notice.