MEDIA RELEASE - CRIMINALISATION OF IMAGE-BASED ABUSE NEARS REALITY - 16 AUGUST 2018

Three years after Labor first introduced a Private Members’ Bill to criminalise image-based abuse, the Enhancing Online Safety (Non-consensual Sharing of Intimate Images) Bill 2017, introducing both civil and criminal offences, has finally passed the House of Representatives.

Labor welcomes the government coming to the party on the need for a specific criminal offence that sends a strong and clear message to the community that the non-consensual sharing of private sexual material is not acceptable.

Labor’s commitment to tackling this pernicious form of abuse has been unwavering and we are pleased the government has finally accepted the evidence and followed Labor’s lead on this issue.

For years, Labor and community stakeholders have called for a specific criminal offence yet, until now, the Turnbull Government has maintained that existing criminal law is enough.

In October 2015, Labor first introduced a Private Members’ Bill into Parliament to criminalise the sharing of private sexual material without consent.

Labor took a policy to criminalise image-based abuse to the 2016 Federal Election, undertaking to do so within the first 100 days of being elected.

In October 2016, Labor reintroduced its Private Members’ Bill into the current Parliament but it lapsed in 2017 because the government refused to call it on for debate.

In June 2017, Labor moved a second reading amendment calling on the Turnbull Government to criminalise the sharing of intimate images without consent.

A number of Labor MPs have prosecuted this issue over the years, in particular: Terri Butler MP, Tim Watts MP, Clare O’Neil MP and Mark Dreyfus QC MP.

The constructive and bipartisan approach of the Attorney-General, Christian Porter MP and the Shadow Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus MP QC also deserves acknowledgement.

Labor pays tribute to the efforts of a range of stakeholders in the community. We hope today’s progress brings the victims of image-based abuse some comfort as they see the results of their advocacy, and know they have helped protect their fellow Australians from this serious form of abuse.