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House of Representatives

Age verification - keeping minors safe online

With 44 per cent of children between 9 and 16 reporting that they have encountered sexual images online, a parliamentary committee has launched an inquiry into the effectiveness of age verification systems on pornographic and gambling websites.

Andrew Wallace, Chair of the Social Policy and Legal Affairs Committee, says there is currently a discrepancy between age verification requirements for online gambling and online pornography.

‘While customers must verify their age within 14 days to continue using an online wagering account, an age verification process is not required at all for customers to access online pornography’, Mr Wallace said.

‘This is concerning, as research shows that accessing pornography negatively influences young peoples’ attitudes to sex, sexuality and relationships.’

The Committee will examine the effectiveness of the age verification measures now in place for online wagering in Australia, and the possibility of introducing a similar process to verify the age of users of online pornography.

The Committee acknowledges 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. The focus of this inquiry is not the legitimate use of online wagering and online pornography.

The Committee welcomes submissions from all people and organisations with insights or perspectives on how online age verification can be made as effective as possible, to prevent children accessing wagering and pornography sites.

Submissions to the inquiry are now open. More information on making a submission, and the inquiry’s full terms of reference, are available on the Committee’s website.

Media inquiries

Mr Andrew Wallace, Chair of Committee
Mr Simon Thwaites
0439 972 667

For background information

Committee Secretariat
02 6277 2358

For more information about this Committee, you can visit its website. On the site, you can make a submission to an inquiry, read other submissions, and get details for upcoming public hearings. You can also track the Committee and receive email updates by clicking on the blue ‘Track Committee’ button in the bottom right hand corner of the page.