Federal Member For Banks
Shadow Minister for Communications

Shadow Minister for Communications, Transcript – ABC News Afternoon Briefing with Greg Jennett

Shadow Minister for Communications, Transcript – Sky News- Kieran Gilbert

The Hon. David Coleman MP

Shadow Minister for Communications

Federal Member for Banks

25 March 2024

Subjects: The Government’s weak leadership on Meta, Coalition Plan to tackle online crime videosPolls




Kieran Gilbert: Joining me live now is the Shadow Communications Minister, David Coleman. You said to me last week that the Government needs to match its rhetoric with action. Are you seeing that yet?

David Coleman: No, not really. I mean, we can all criticise Meta and we’re all in furious agreement on that. I mean, Meta’s conduct is appalling. It is disgraceful and the Government’s got to make Meta pay. But, it actually took two weeks after the Meta decision before the media companies even got a letter asking for them, with a clear request, to provide information about why Meta should be designated under the Code. So the Government wasn’t ready. They want to huff and puff, and they want to say Meta is bad. Well, we all agree Meta’s conduct is terrible.

Kieran Gilbert: But you’re saying the jury’s out?

David Coleman: Well they have got to get it done. I mean, we got it done, that’s the bottom line. All that matters is the outcome. And the Government talks a lot about process. And process is important, but more important than process, is the outcome. And another example is scams on Meta. The ACCC in November 2022 said to the Government to take action about all the scams that they were seeing on Meta and basically nothing’s happened, nearly 18 months later. So rhetoric one thing, action another.

Kieran Gilbert: Let’s, we’ll keep a watching brief on that one. You are introducing legislation today. The Coalition, it’s been called ‘post and boast’ legislation. It’s about really youth crime, isn’t it? Young people posting and boasting about what they’re doing. It’s timely, the introduction of this legislation, given the horrific stories. And Matt Cunningham has been reporting today out of the Northern Territory and some of it going to this very issue, have you picked up much support across the Parliament on this legislation?

David Coleman: Well, we haven’t really heard from the Government yet on this, and we need to because this is just common sense. We’ve got the power to do this. There are criminal provisions related to telecommunications already under Federal law. We want to add this to those provisions, and we want to send a very clear message, if you post one of these videos, you could go to jail. So don’t do it. And that’s the Coalition’s position because this is just outrageous. You’ve got people who are sleeping in their beds, criminals going into their homes, filming them and then bragging about it online. It’s totally unacceptable and so I introduced the legislation today, and the Government should back it.

Kieran Gilbert: And do you, I mean, as you say, it’s common sense, you would expect the Government to jump on board?

David Coleman: Well, I do.

Kieran Gilbert: It’s actually quite similar to what New South Wales is doing at the State level.

David Coleman: Yeah, there’s some State laws there. They’re a little different. The Federal law that we propose goes a little bit further and they can work side by side, but it’s all about giving the police the tools to act on this. Because at the moment, in most of Australia, you can post one of these videos and basically there’s no consequence and there should be a consequence. And importantly Kieran, our law catches not only the person who committed the underlying crime, but also the person who is filming it and posting it. You’ve got to get both of them.

Kieran Gilbert: It seems a no brainer. But you are also going to empower the eSafety Commissioner to take down this stuff.

David Coleman: Yeah so at the moment …

Kieran Gilbert: They don’t have that power?

David Coleman: … don’t have a clear power to do that now. So this will give her a very clear power. So we call it criminal activity material. And if there’s criminal activity material, the eSafety Commissioner sees it, issues an order to social media companies. They have got to take it down and big fines if they don’t.

Kieran Gilbert: And just finally the polling today. It has not much movement, but still, the Coalition needs to make a bit more ground. What’s your read on where things are a year out from the next election?

David Coleman: Well, I think the Government is under a lot of pressure, people are still waiting for their $275 power price reduction. They see Mr. Albanese off doing the Voice and all these things that he wants to do. But this is a guy who has not delivered, and he’s a weak leader. And people want strength in their leadership. They don’t want someone who’s just going to flap in the breeze. And they’re getting increasingly sick of this Government and we’re seeing that reflected.

Kieran Gilbert: David Coleman, thanks for your time. Appreciate it.

David Coleman: Thanks.