Albanese Government Flags Measures to Tackle Online Misogyny in the Battle Against Violence Towards Women

The Albanese government will introduce legislation to ban deepfake pornography and provide more funding for the eSafety Commission to pilot age-assurance technologies.

The contribution of internet sites to gender-based violence was one major issue at Wednesday’s special national cabinet meeting on the issue of violence against women.

After the meeting Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the federal government would devote $925.2 million over five years to establish permanently the Leaving Violence Program. Those eligible will be able to receive up to $5000, as well as help with referral services, risk assessment and safety planning.

A $5000 “escaping violence” payment was introduced under the Morrison government. The Albanese government stresses that was a “trial” program.

The role of the access to pornography and other misogynistic material has become an increasing matter of concern in gendered violence.

Deepfake pornography is visual content created using AI technology.

“I understand parents want to protect their kids from harmful material online,” Albanese said. “Social platforms have important social responsibilities and we need them to step up. Taken together, these reforms will give Australian families some of the tools they need to navigate the complexity of the digital world.”

He said the legislation would carry “serious criminal penalties”.

The prime minister admitted it was hard to police the internet. “We don’t under-estimate how difficult this is,” he said. But “online players need to understand exactly what the consequences are of a free-for-all online”.

After the meeting Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the federal government would devote $925.2 million over five years to establish permanently the Leaving Violence Program. Those eligible will be able to receive up to $5000, as well as help with referral services, risk assessment and safety planning. Credit: supplied
After the meeting Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announced the federal government would devote $925.2 million over five years to establish permanently the Leaving Violence Program. Those eligible will be able to receive up to $5000, as well as help with referral services, risk assessment and safety planning. Credit: supplied

The age-assurance pilot was recommended by the eSafety Commissioner and has also been supported by the federal opposition.

Communication Minister Michelle Rowland said the pilot would address access to age-inappropriate material including pornography.

“Taking steps to prevent access for minors to age-inappropriate content like pornography is one tool that can help protect young minds from damaging and misogynistic behaviours,” Rowland said.

The leaders at national cabinet agreed there needed to be more focus across jurisdictions on “high-risk perpetrators and serial offenders to prevent homicides”.

Police ministers and attorneys-general will develop “options for improving police responses to high risk and serial perpetrators, including considering use of focused deterrence and fixated threat strategies”.

There will be reports back to a later national cabinet meeting.

Bail has become a hot-button issue after New South Wales woman Molly Ticehurst was allegedly murdered by her former partner who was on bail.

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