Coalition response to Privacy Inquiry misses the mark

The Coalition’s proposal to criminalise “revenge porn” will not empower victims and is an inadequate response to the Parliamentary Inquiry’s recommendations for remedies for the serious invasion of privacy.

The inquiry found that the right to privacy needs statutory protection but recommended a civil remedy, not the creation of a new criminal offence.

With the Government’s full response expected to be tabled today, the Greens will be watching closely to ensure that all of the report’s recommendations are implemented including better training for the NSW Police and greater safeguards for victims of domestic violence.

Greens MP and Justice Spokesperson David Shoebridge, a member of the Law and Justice Committee, said:

“The Parliamentary Inquiry recommended practical statutory remedies for the serious invasion of privacy, but it did not recommend the creation of a new criminal offence.

“Parliament has an obligation to deliver laws that protect our privacy. There is little evidence to suggest that creating a new criminal offence will do this.

“There is very real concern as to how any new criminal offence would impact on the lives of young people.

“Properly protecting the right to privacy starts with legislating for takedown orders, civil damages and comprehensive oversight from the Privacy Commissioner.

“After hearing evidence from the Privacy Commissioner, the Women’s Legal Service and a number of academics, the inquiry recommended a civil statutory remedy for victims. This appears to have been ignored by the Government.

“The right to privacy is both increasingly threatened and increasingly import in a digital age.

“Too often women who are facing domestic violence, even if they have their personal safety afforded some protection with an ADVO, will see a vindictive former partner spread intimate details and images on social media.

“The report also recommended giving the Local Court additional powers in domestic violence proceedings to prevent the sharing of personal and private images and to issue take down orders if any such images have been shared.

“The Greens will be closely reviewing how the Government intends to implement the full suite of the inquiry’s recommendations to ensure that people’s privacy is properly protected.” Mr Shoebridge said.

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