Cyber abuse take-down laws pass

Marion RaeAAP
New laws have established a world-first cyber abuse take-down scheme for Australian adults.
Camera IconNew laws have established a world-first cyber abuse take-down scheme for Australian adults. Credit: AAP

New laws have established a world-first cyber abuse take-down scheme for Australian adults.

The online safety laws passed by parliament on Wednesday give the eSafety commissioner new powers to have threats, violent material, revenge porn and other vile content removed within 24 hours.

Perpetrators can be whacked with fines and jail terms.

A complaints mechanism will support people who don't want to go to the police or through the courts.

The bill also provides a rapid website-blocking power during an online crisis event, such as the 2019 live-streamed terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand, that saw regulators helpless while footage went global.

New penalties and powers will take away anonymity from predators on dating sites, internet gambling and private messaging.

High-profile victim of cyber-bullying Erin Molan has backed the new framework targeting people who threaten, intimidate, menace or harass others online.

The laws build on Carly's Law passed four years ago to protect children from online predators, which focused on social media.

Sonya Ryan, whose 15-year-old daughter Carly was murdered more than a decade ago, says the law needs to keep up with constantly evolving apps and online services, and provide for rapid help.

Greens digital rights spokesperson Nick McKim backed protecting women and children from harmful online content, but said his party still had some concerns about the new laws.

"Our concerns include the potential for it to be used to limit public interest journalism if it contains violent imagery," he told AAP.

"We are also worried about the potential for its powers to be misused against sex workers and LGBTIQ people."

Labor frontbencher Michelle Rowland said while the amended bill was welcome, the government still needed to address the issue of online racism.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails