Commonwealth Inquiry into Age Verification

A parliamentary committee has launched an inquiry into the effectiveness of age verification systems on pornographic and gambling websites.

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs, chaired by Andrew Wallace MP, is conducting an inquiry into age verification for online wagering and online pornography.  The Terms of Reference for the Inquiry directs the Committee to “have particular regard to” the potential for age verification as a mechanism for protecting minors online, but also requires the consideration of economic consequences and the impact of freedom of expression.

In announcing the Inquiry the Committee noted that “accessing online wagering from operators licensed in Australia and online pornography from appropriately classified websites is a legal activity for people aged over 18” and indicated that the “focus of this inquiry is not the legitimate use of online wagering and online pornography”.  In these circumstances we can see no reason why the Committee should need to consider the economic consequences of what is illegal activity involving minors.

The Committee is accepting written submissions to be received by Friday, 25 October 2019, details on the Inquiry website here.  CSA has made a brief submission and we are encouraging all schools to consider sharing their experiences of the impact of access to online gambling and pornography websites by students to the Committee.