Question Time

Tuesday, 06 February 2018

Ms MARINO (Forrest—Chief Government Whip) (15:02): My question is to the Minister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity. Will the minister update the House on the importance of keeping our kids safe.

Mr TAYLOR (Hume—Minister for Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity) (15:03): I thank the honourable member, who is well known for her longstanding and keen interest in ensuring that all Australians, especially young Australians, are kept safe online.

Most parents would rightly be shocked by the reports that emerged from the Australian Federal Police today. The AFP has seen cases where children as young as four have produced sexually explicit material, uploaded it on social media and subsequently engaged with online child sex offenders, who may well have encouraged the initial upload.

The reality is that, in the digital age, we face real risks on every phone and every computer. And children are now engaging independently online from extraordinarily young ages. I'm sure that everyone in this place can reflect on the incredible aptitude of younger Australians with mobile devices.

They have, quite literally, grown up with the technology. That engagement can be a great thing but our law enforcement, our policies and our education of our children must keep up. That's why the AFP has broadened the scope of its training to ensure that our youngest and most vulnerable Australians are protected.

The AFP has, for the first time now, expanded their ThinkUKnow cybersafety program for children in kindergarten through to year 2 and their parents. It is also why the Turnbull government is committed, like no previous government before it, to strengthening our national cybersecurity against those absolutely deplorable threats.

The government's Cyber Security Strategy, which was launched in April 2016, sets out an ambitious four-year plan to secure Australians online

It is just one of our many reforms to national security legislation, policy and funding—the most significant reforms in a generation. With the creation of the Home Affairs portfolio we're now better placed than ever to deal with the complex national security threats.

The sad truth is that those threats can now reach into every home and every schoolyard, aided by technology and sophisticated criminal networks. As with every other aspect of national security, only the coalition government can be trusted to keep Australia's digital borders secure.