April 4th 2020

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY The world has changed: Now for the new order

FAMILY AND SOCIETY Move to curtail underage online porn epidemic

CANBERRA OBSERVED ScoMo's delicate balancing act in extraordinary times

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Time and timing are crucial to Cardinal Pell's appeal by Peter Westmore

NEW ZEALAND Political divisions polarise across the Ditch

NEW ZEALAND Victorian Road Map smooths way of NZ anti-life clique to abortion 'reform'

FREE SPEECH Intolerance brigade at UQ attacks professor of Law

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Victoria lifts moratorium of gas exploration

CHINESE HISTORY The Soong Dynasty: Three sisters who rules China

LAW AND SOCIETY Guilt by accusation: The kangaroos are roaming freely through Australia's legal system

GENDER POLITICS Dr Quentin Van Meter's Australian talk is opening eyes in the U.S.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Australia is not safe in the borderless globalised world

SHOPPING AND SOCIETY The Ubermensch in the aisles

MUSIC We seem to have lost the point of counterpoint

CINEMA The Current War: Industrial miracle workers

BOOK REVIEW A dark trade that continues unabated worldwide

EBOOK READ THIS Both sides to this old story



NATIONAL AFFAIRS Use detention centres to help deal with covid19 epidemic

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Justice at last: Cardinal Pell set free

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Move to curtail underage online porn epidemic

by Chris McCormack

News Weekly, April 4, 2020


  • Federal inquiry has recommended age verification to access online porn
  • 44 per cent of 9–16 year olds encountered sexual images in the last month
  • Violence against women, murder and rape linked to pornography

The federal inquiry into age verification for online wagering and pornography has released its report, entitled “Protecting the age of innocence”.

The inquiry received 1,031 submissions, illustrating the degree of community concern over the number of children accessing online pornography. The inquiry recognised the harm that unfettered access to pornography poses.

The report’s executive summary reads: “The Committee … concluded that age verification can create a significant barrier to prevent young people – and particularly young children – from exposure to harmful online content.

“The Committee’s recommendations therefore seek to support the implementation of online age verification in Australia … and that the eSafety Commissioner lead the development of a roadmap for the implementation of a regime of mandatory age verification for online pornographic material, and that this be part of a broader, holistic approach to address the risks and harms associated with online pornography.”

Of the random snapshot of more than 30 submissions I read, every one was either solely concerned with or more concerned with online pornography rather than online wagering, and supported age verification for accessing online pornography. Some submissions revealed harrowing personal stories of lives destroyed by pornography.

Several submissions quoted a 2017 Australian Institute of Family Studies report entitled “The effects of pornography on children and young people”, which revealed that 44 per cent of children aged nine to 16 surveyed had encountered sexual images in the last month, 16 per cent of these had seen images of people having sex.

Some submissions revealed lives torn apart by pornography. Many submitters’ names were withheld for this reason. One submission (no. 20) recalls: “I was exposed to pornography at the age of six by someone I knew who had downloaded it and hid it on their family computer who was only at the age of 11. It immediately corrupted my life and I lost all innocence at such a young age; which I tell you now hurts so much that I lost my childhood.

“I became addicted to it, it taught me how to perform sexual acts and by the time I was a teenager I was a depraved, isolated and lonely person who was suicidal … please make it impossible for someone under age to access anything pornographic on their own, it is destroying lives, making this generation depraved and putting our future at stake of brutality by teaching children that people are lumps of flesh to be used for pleasure and have no inherent human dignity.”

Another (no. 27) laments: “Having experienced pornography at a young age myself and spending many years of my teenage years trying to break free from damaging addiction, I wished such verification existed to prevent me from early access.”

Ged Pilon (no.33), a Masters-qualified counsellor in a school of 1450 pupils, writes: “In a meeting with 140 Year 6 children (age 11), 90 per cent said they had viewed pornography … We are seeing changes in aggressive sexual behaviour towards the girls by the boys as their expectations are warped by viewing porn.”

A submission by Dr Elisabeth Taylor (no. 196), an academic and mother who has researched the detrimental effects of pornography on women, adolescents and children, said that her friendship group, though politically diverse, were “united in a common concern over pornography, which they identify as a key threat to the future possibilities for their children in forming healthy, abuse-free relationships”.

She continues: “Pornography … is now overwhelmingly concerned with sexual power, intimidation and degradation of a victim”; and: “the arguments against pornography are not the preserve of fringe, repressed neo-puritans but of all citizens who value public safety”.

Indeed, as I have pointed out in News Weekly (“The pervasive and pernicious online porn epidemic”, April 6, 2019), convicted rapist and murderer Adrian Bailey had watched “rape porn” before raping and murdering Jill Meagher; while accused Claremont serial killer Bradley Edwards (who recently pled guilty to rape, and attacking another woman) kept a “meticulously” maintained catalogue of 4,000 porn sites. Likewise, American serial killer and rapist Ted Bundy attributed his heinous actions to his addiction to pornography.

There is irrefutable evidence that public safety is endangered by access to pornography.

The Federal Government cannot ignore the evidence presented to the inquiry or its recommendations to adopt an age-verification system for accessing online pornography and gambling. To ignore the recommendations would be an abrogation of their responsibility to provide the safest possible environment for citizens, especially the most vulnerable: children.

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Last Modified:
April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm