Paul Fletcher MP

Switch to desktop

It didn’t get a lot of media attention, but this week the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Deregulation) Bill 2014 passed the Senate.   

It is very odd that Bill Shorten is today criticising the Coalition’s measures to protect children against cyberbullying, contained in the Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act - which passed the parliament last week with bipartisan support.

According to a story in today’s Daily Telegraph online, Labor leader Bill Shorten claims that the Coalition has ‘shelved’ or ‘junked’ the measures we promised before the 2013 election.

Our promise was to implement an effective complaints system, backed by legislation, to get material targeted at and harmful to an Australian child, down quickly from large social media sites.

The Act which has just been passed delivers on our promise and establishes this system – and sets up the new office of the Children’s E-Safety Commissioner.

A highly contentious issue in the Australian broadband debate has been the choice of technologies.  The previous Labor government wanted to build fibre to the premises (FTTP) to every home in the fixed line footprint.   Some advocates make the case for this approach with almost religious fervour.

By contrast the Abbott Government believes a more rational strategy is to use a mix of technologies including cable (the HFC networks originally built for pay television) and fibre to the node (FTTN).  The NBN Strategic Review, conducted once the Coalition came to power in late 2013, identified a preferred scenario involving 44% FTTN, 30% HFC and 26% FTTP.

This week we saw a very significant statement from Twitter – acknowledging that Twitter needs to do more to combat abuse, trolling and cyberbullying on the platform.

In a company memo, the CEO reportedly put his thoughts quite bluntly: “We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years”.

Monday, 15 December 2014 00:00

Hour of Code

Over the weekend I took part in ‘Hour of Code’, a global initiative designed to get school students involved in computer coding – and one which has had a strong response in Australia. It has been designed as an introduction to computer science, “to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics,” the organisers say.

This last week saw the issue of the 2013-14 Communications Report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The report - which is produced each year by the government agency which oversees the Australian communications sector - contains some fascinating data about how Australians are using the internet and mobile communications devices.

Three things really stand out.

Monday, 10 November 2014 00:00

The Prime Minister's speech on JJC Bradfield

Last week’s Bradfield oration, delivered by the Prime Minister, was a fitting tribute to the visionary Australian engineer, Dr JJC Bradfield – the man after whom the electorate of Bradfield is named.

The Bradfield Oration was organised by the Daily Telegraph, to mark the enormous contribution made by Dr Bradfield to the city of Sydney, and to our nation.  His far sighted vision was critical to the provision of many facilities and services we use and take for granted today, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the city circle underground rail loop, and the electrification of the Sydney suburban railway system.

The Herald Sun this week reported on a new study on teenage bullying – including cyberbullying.

Several hundred teenagers in Victoria, in Year 7 and Year 9, were interviewed for the study.

According to Australian Catholic University Professor Sheryl Hemphill, more than 20 per cent of girls in the study reported being cyberbullied in the last year.

In the technology sector around the world, ‘startup’ companies form a critically important part of the growth cycle.

A startup is a company formed, from scratch, typically with the aim of commercialising some technology. 

The rear cover of the new book ‘Sexts, Texts and Selfies’ notes that ‘Soon enough, every parent will have to discuss online safety with their children’. When you read this excellent book by renowned cyber-safety expert Susan McLean you quickly understand why.

Authorised by Paul Fletcher MP, Level 2, 280 Pacific Highway Lindfield NSW 2070.

Top Desktop version