Fletcher to lead Opposition's cybersafety group

Fletcher to lead Opposition's cybersafety group

Summary: The Federal Opposition is set to develop an alternative to the government's cybersafety policy, today announcing the formation of a taskforce of backbenchers to spearhead the issue, led by Paul Fletcher MP.

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The Federal Opposition is set to develop an alternative to the government's cybersafety policy, today announcing the formation of a taskforce of backbenchers to spearhead the issue, led by Paul Fletcher MP.

Announced by Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott in Melbourne this morning, the taskforce, dubbed the Online Safety Working Group, will seek to "assist parents, carers and teachers to better protect children and young people from the risks associated with the internet and social media".

Abbott used the announcement to take a swipe at the government's existing cybersafety policy, which includes the controversial Cybersafety Help Button and a mandatory internet filter.

"The coalition does not seek to repeat Labor's ham-fisted attempt to put a filter on the internet or to hinder the dynamic nature of the online environment, but we do want to assist and equip parents and teachers in their work of protecting our children and preparing them for adulthood," Abbott said in a statement.

"This is about protecting cyberprivacy. It's not about trying to enforce cybercensorship."

This fiery statement follows statements made last year by Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, in which he said that he wants to see the filter "dead, buried and cremated".

The group will work closely with Turnbull's office, as well as with the office of Shadow Education Minister Christopher Pyne. The working group will also include Senator Gary Humphries, Alex Hawke MP, Natasha Griggs MP, Wyatt Roy MP, Patrick Secker MP, Senator Stephen Parry, Senator Bridget McKenzie and Luke Simpkins MP.

According to the opposition leader's statement, the working group will hold roundtables and community forums over the coming months, before a report is handed down by midyear.

Topics: Government, Government AU, Security

Luke Hopewell

About Luke Hopewell

A fresh recruit onto the tech journalism battlefield, Luke Hopewell is eager to see some action. After a tour of duty in the belly of the Telstra beast, he is keen to report big stories on the enterprise beat. Drawing on past experience in radio, print and magazine, he plans to ask all the tough questions you want answered.

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