Our CEO, Dr Andre Oboler, gave evidence to the House Select Committee Inquiry into Social Media and Online Safety. The inquiry of the Australian Parliament was held via videoconference. In the hearing we appeared along side the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.
We discussed the harm and danger of online hate and how in some cases it has led to radicalisation resulting in terrorism. We discussed the impact on the Jewish community, Muslim community, the Indigenous community, Asian Australian communities, and other groups in society.
The new online safety laws are an improvement, but there are still gaps, particularly around hate targeting groups rather than individuals. We called for eSafety to be given power to act on online content in breach of any law in Australia (either a federal or state law) on a referral from a relevant government agencies or commissions (again, including both Commonwealth and State / Territory agencies and commissions).
We also urged for both greater engagement by government with civil society in this space, and greater funding to support the work of civil society in this space.
A record of the evidence given in parliament can be seen in Hansard, here is an extract:
Unfortunately the funding to civil society in this area has been almost non-existent. Most e-safety sort of funding goes to education, and most of the education goes to education in schools. There are problems there, but there are a lot of problems that are occurring with people in their 20s, 30s and beyond, and educating people in schools may help mitigate some of the problem in future, but it’s not going to get rid of it. We need to have other solutions in place.