The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 16:37 :58 ): I rise today on behalf of the Greens to speak to the government's Summary Offences (Filming and Sexting Offences) Amendment Bill 2016. The Greens support the threefold effect of this bill.
First, it criminalises the act of distributing what is called 'revenge porn'; that is, invasive photos of people shared to scare, intimidate or shame them. Society is perhaps too eager to, if not justify then rationalise the distribution of revenge porn as the act of, say, a spurned lover. That assumption can be wrong. The people who share such images are at best immature bullies and at worst manipulative egomaniacs. Either way, people take pleasure in humiliating others or they use material gained in confidence—often during a romantic relationship—to control and intimidate that other person.
Secondly, in criminalising the perpetrators of these attack, it reinforces that the South Australian parliament, the police force and our laws all recognise that people who may share these photos in confidence—although many of these attacks have actually involved the hacking of private accounts to gain these photos without consent, as well as those that have then shared willingly—are not responsible for the vitriolic use of those photos to humiliate them.
I would like to call out some media sources in their treatment of revenge porn, in particular Channel 7's Sunrise, who in the wake of the local attacks which came to light last year, insisted on posting to their social media account that these victims of revenge porn were somehow responsible for the non-consensual use of those photos gained from hacking. On the Sunrise Facebook page it stated: 'What's it going to take for women to get the message about taking and sending nude photos?' One feminist writer, Clementine Ford, responded, and she summed it up in a way that I will share with members because I could not say it better myself:
I have taken nude photos of myself and sent them to lovers, I' ve taken nu de photos of myself when I'm bored, I' ve taken nude photos just because I have a smart phone and it's fun. None of that means I have asked for my privacy to be violated , my photo s stolen and my very self made available for public humiliation and judgement. Consent is everything. When Channel 7 's Sunrise asks ' when will women learn ' instead of 'why do men continue to view women as objects they can defile and violate while the world watches and tut tuts ' , they are victim blaming. They are saying it' s the responsibility of victims of crime and assault to prevent it and not the responsibility of society to make such crimes intolerable and unacceptable.
When will women learn? Learn what? That our bodies do not belong to us? That we have no right to determine who sees those bodies, touches those bodies —
The next line is unsayable for Hansard—
[does other things with those bodies] and shares in those bodies? Honey, we don't need to learn that. We already know the answer. We don't have those rights. We are not allowed to be the masters of ourselves, only the gatekeepers.
Consent is what happens when you give permission. Theft and assault is what happens when people take it from you despite you saying no.
Sunrise later deleted that particular post and replaced it with, and I quote: 'A stern warning for people who share risqué photos online.' This replaced comment is still directed at the victims of crime and not the perpetrators of those crimes. I hope this bill and similar ones interstate have shown, particularly those media sources, that in these circumstances victim blaming is now a legal myth, and with the passage of this bill certainly that will make that plain.
Thirdly, this bill offers prosecutors an alternative offence to charges of distributing child pornography when minors share explicit images, a move long overdue and much welcome. As the Attorney-General's Department explanatory paper clarifies, however, this will simply be an additional offence open to our legal system.
There has been, and will still be, serious cases involving minors distributing child pornography who merit being charged under the Criminal Law Consolidation Act. Although it is wrong to believe that minors who share explicit pictures are always naive or misguided about the consequences of their actions, it is undeniable that in some cases this is the case. We live in a society where each and every single one of us who has a smart phone, including minors, holds a potential personal porn production company in the palm of our hands.
The Luddites amongst us might believe that this distribution of explicit images is somehow a very modern or contemporary phenomenon. To them I say, have a look back through history, particularly the early 20th century, but certainly it goes far further back than that, to see that this is simply not the case; it is simply now that these images can be taken, shared and distributed in a matter of seconds or less.
It is a proud moment when our parliament passes legislation such as this which seeks to end victim blaming and which seeks to keep up with the times of technology. Certainly I will be looking forward to the debate, quite rightly I think raised by the Liberal opposition, as to whether or not the definition of 'breasts' should include the word 'bare' before 'breasts' as in the following part of that clause where genitals are actually defined as being 'bare'. It seems logical to me and I certainly look forward to the committee stage debate on that and, indeed, the amendments that the government has put forward on this bill.
It is time to stop victim blaming. These types of revenge porn tactics are used in what is in many cases violence against women (not always violence against women), when they are threatened or shamed by having images distributed of them without their consent. With those few words, I look forward to the committee stage and will support the second reading of this bill.