By Australian Newsletter

Australia will lead a global push to target online child exploitation in a bid to shut down what domestic intelligence and security agencies claim is an alarming proliferation in the live-streaming of child rape.  Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton will meet with member countries of the Five Eyes intelligence network, which includes the US, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, as well as Australia, to discuss how to harness the unrivalled global reach and cyber capabilities of the organisation to disrupt international paedophile networks.  It is understood that Britain has agreed to elevate child exploitation to a priority issue for Five Eyes, with the US also likely to back it.

It comes as Australian Federal Police (AFP) report a doubling in the number of online child exploitation cases reported last year, with an explosion in the use of live-streaming and digital platforms by networks of paedophiles on the dark web.  Last year the AFP received 18,000 reports of online child abuse material, reflecting an 84% increase since 2017.  Mr Dutton is also likely to argue for pressure to be increased on digital platforms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, which refused a request to attend a classified meeting last year, to act against the live-streaming of child exploitation, just as they have been forced to act on terrorism and ultra-violence.

The five country ministerial meeting of Home Affairs, Security and Interior ministers is also expecting to feature heated discussions on whether Britain and Canada join the US and Australia led 5G ban on Chinese telco Huawei.  Britain’s openness to allowing Huawei’s involvement in the domestic rollout of 5G has become a sticking point within the Five Eyes community, with the US threatening to withhold intelligence sharing should the UK go ahead.  British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has hinted strongly that he may join the ban, having said during the recent leadership campaign that he would refrain from anything that could upset the Five Eyes alliance.

Mr Dutton, however, has said that while 5G would feature prominently, it was the proliferation in online child exploitation that would form a “significant part of the agenda” at this year’s Five Eyes meeting.  He welcomed the British decision to elevate child exploitation as “a key priority of discussions”.  “There needs to be a greater international engagement in the battle against child exploitation,” Mr Dutton said.  “Now with the internet, pay-per view, offenders can direct material and have it live streamed into their bedrooms. “The bigger picture is how we can disrupt these networks.”

Mr Dutton would not discuss operational options but it would likely involve the enlistment of capabilities of the Australian Cyber Security Centre.  “It is necessary to deal with these people, the prolific nature of what’s being sent around the planet in seconds … the only way you can deal with it is online and trying to strike it out at the same time you are trying to rescue kids,” he said.  “The Five Eyes community is more needed and more necessary than ever.”  Of the 28 citizenship cancellations imposed by Mr Dutton since 2014, 11 have been for people convicted of child sex offences.

The government claims controversial encryption laws passed at the end of last year would be vital in cyber approaches to child exploitation.  The AFP, which argued strenuously for the new laws, but which were resisted by the tech companies, claims Australians were viewing an “unprecedented volume of online child abuse material” with a spike in incidents reported to the US National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.  Mr Dutton said the Morrison government had pumped an extra $70 million into the Centre for Countering Child Exploitation in the past six months, and was committed to a build-up of operations with Interpol.

Austrac, has also been given a priority mission to track paedophile networks through financial transactions.  Mr Dutton said Australia’s focus was on Southeast Asia, with multiple joint operations with Manila to rescue children in The Philippines.  Britain was focusing on networks and child trafficking in Europe.  A former policeman, Mr Dutton worked in the sex offenders squad.  “I’ve investigated rapes and interviewed young girls and boys sexually assaulted, in many cases it destroys lives” he said.  “We have to do everything we can to protect kids. It’s horrible to believe these people live and breathe among us.  But we need to deal with the reality of that threat.”

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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By Australian Newsletter

A feminist group has accused Victoria’s Labor government of introducing its proposed sex-change bill without adequate community consultation, saying the potential impact on women is significant and largely misunderstood.  The recently formed Victorian Women’s Guild wants to highlight concerns over the government’s Births, Deaths, and Marriages Registration Amendment Bill, which, if ratified, will allow transgender individuals to alter their sex on birth certificates without having to undergo sex reassignment surgery.  The response comes as Coalition MPs seek to oppose the bill, which is now in the Upper House, after opposition legal affairs spokesman Ed O’Donohue flagged concerns about the impact of the reform on identifying sex offenders and other prisoners.

A recent media storm around the case of Jessica Yaniv, a Canadian trans woman who has launched more than a dozen human rights complaints against beauticians who declined to wax her biologically male genitalia, which she retains, is also understood to have been factored into its stance.  The Coalition defeated a similar bill in 2016.  The latest bill, introduced to parliament in June, removes the requirement for an individual to have had surgical intervention in order to “self-nominate” on their birth certificate as male or female or “any other gender diverse or non-binary descriptor”.

According to the guild, the legislation has potential impacts for women’s safety, medical care and sport.  One of its biggest concerns is women will no longer have a right to the privacy of female only spaces as self-identified trans women, including those who remain biologically male, would by law be entitled to access.  The group has been labelled “transphobic” by a group of University of Melbourne students petitioning the university to cancel the guild’s forum on the issue.  The Future of Sex-Based Rights event, featuring philosopher Holly Lawford-Smith and sports lawyer Hayden Opie, “lends both legitimacy and a platform to discrimination against trans¬gender and gender nonconforming people”, the group said in a letter to vice-chancellor Duncan Maskell.

Guild spokeswoman Nina Vallins said while the Yaniv case had captured the public’s attention, there were wide-ranging consequences of the proposed bill, particularly for already vulnerable women such as domestic violence survivors and prisoners.  “These women have a right to safe women only spaces.  It would be unfair on these women who have been victims of male violence to have male people, or to have to worry about male people, in these spaces,” the lawyer said.  “We believe we can look for solutions where people are able to live their lives in a way that they feel accepted by society, but in a way that also respects women.”

Melbourne Law School sports law specialist Mr Opie, said the debate around trans rights versus women’s rights to compete in sport on a level playing field posed challenging questions, but debating the issue did not make a person “transphobic”.  “It’s a shame what we’ve seen so far is a confrontation rather than a conversation,” he said. Ms Vallins said she was also concerned by the lack of consultation on the bill, with the guild’s attempts to discuss concerns with the Attorney-General Jill Hennessy being ignored.  Ms Hennessy, who said the bill was developed in consultation with LGBTI communities, declined to answer questions on how widely the government had consulted on the bill.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports

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By Australian Newsletter

As the winter night fell in Sydney, thousands amassed in the heart of the city, protesting a radical proposed new law permitting abortion on demand until birth.  The rally began in Martin Place, a pedestrian mall in the centre of Sydney’s business district, at 6 PM and lasted until 9 PM.  Thousands of protestors marched from Martin Place to the front of New South Wales Parliament buildings where legislators in the state’s Legislative Council, or upper house, were debating the bill.

Paul Hanrahan of Family Life International Australia said that he thought close to ten thousand pro-life advocates attended.  There were speeches by the Archbishop of Sydney and other religious leaders and politicians, as well as an ultrasound demonstration that amplified the sound of the beating heart of an unborn baby over the large crowd.  “I’ve never seen this many people at a pro-life event in Australia or so engaged,” Hanrahan said.

Source: LifeSiteNews

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By Australian Newsletter

The tactics of left-wing activist group GetUp in the last election campaign could be laid bare before a parliamentary committee with two Liberal backbenchers preparing to lodge complaints to an inquiry in the May 18 poll.  Liberal MP Nicolle Flint will join fellow Coalition backbencher Kevin Andrews in formally complaining about GetUp’s election tactics, a development which could see office bearers from the activist group hauled before parliament to explain their conduct.  Aggressive tactics in Flint’s seat of Boothby led to vandals attacking her office and the 41-year-old being stalked.

“I will be making a detailed submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters regarding the behaviour of GetUp & the Unions in the seat of Boothby during the election campaign,” she said.  ‘I will provide detailed evidence as to their tactics which included: flooding the electorate with print material personally attacking me.  Flooding Facebook, Twitter, Instagram with personal attacks on me, organising protesters outside my electorate office, at community events, at public transport stops, at Liberal events, at community debates.”

Mr Andrews, the former defence minister, who won his Melbourne seat of Menzies despite a strong campaign against him, will also make a submission to the committee. “I intend to make a submission to the Committee about the activities of GetUp and its affiliates,” he said.  Mr Andrews said that he was falsely accused of supporting gay conversion therapy, a topic he has never even discussed, with GetUp withdrawing the claim only after he threatened legal action.  He was also targeted by a group called Colour Code, which shared the same address as GetUp, and distributed material in Mandarin to Chinese-Australian voters in his electorate labelling him a racist.

Ms Flint, revealed she was stalked during the election campaign and had her election material vandalised.  She told the media she wanted the aggressive campaigns to stop and to make GetUp’s funding more transparent.  “I want to do everything in my power to make sure this behaviour stops in Australia,” she said.  “We’ve got to make sure people like me feel safe in my workplace.  We’ve never seen this level of aggression, and a lot of it was abuse as well.  “We need to fully expose the tactics of GetUp and the unions and how they’ve run these hit campaigns against people like me.

“I don’t believe GetUp is subject to the same political funding reporting requirements that the unions or certainly political parties are.  So where is the funding from?”  A spokesman for GetUp rejected responsibility for Ms Flint’s treatment, saying the group had written a tweet during the campaign condemning the attacks on her campaign office.  “GetUp condemns the sexist and cruel attacks Nicolle Flint and other women, such as Zali Steggall, faced during the election, as well as bullying from within the party.  “We specifically condemned the attacks on Ms Flint’s office at the time. There is no place for that in our politics,” it said.

“GetUp volunteers campaigned in Boothby to champion climate action, by singing alongside children’s entertainer Peter Combe, having heart-to-heart phone calls with their neighbours and volunteering on election day.  “We will continue to hold politicians to account on the issues that matter.”  A GetUp spokesman said the organisation would be “happy” to appear before MPs if they were hauled before the electoral affairs committee.  He also denied the activist network’s funding were not transparent.  “We are of course happy to assist the committee and will continue to do so in order to defend and advance Australian democratic participation” the spokesman said.

“GetUp is strictly regulated under the Commonwealth Electoral Act.  GetUp is obliged to disclose cumulative donations of $13,800 or more in a financial year to the Australian Electoral Commission, as are political parties.  “But because GetUp is passionate about transparency in our democracy, we disclose all cumulative donations of $10,000 or more in real time, unlike political parties, whose donations remain secret beyond election cycles.”

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By Australian Newsletter

Cricket Australia’s new transgender policy has been met with fierce opposition from a number of sources.  The policy will allow self-identifying transgender people to play in whatever category they choose.  This means biological men can play as women.  Prime Minister Scott Morrison has lashed the new policy as “mystifying” and “heavy handed”.  The new policy ensures transgender and gender-diverse people can play cricket at the highest level in Australia. “I think it’s pretty heavy-handed to put it mildly,” Mr Morrison said. “The thing about sport is it should be driven locally by clubs and I have no doubt these sorts of issues are being managed practically at a club level.”

The Prime Minister suggested “there are far more practical ways to handle these issues” and he also “cautioned it was important to  manage it calmly.”  Kirralie Smith, Binary spokeswoman, was also mystified by Cricket Australia’s decision. “Women will be the big losers of allowing biological men to compete as women.  Males have an inarguable advantage having gone through puberty with high levels of testosterone.  It is insulting to women who have worked hard to reach elite levels and it puts them in a dangerous position.  This is a sure-fire way to destroy women’s competitions and to remove all incentives for girls to even participate in the first place.”

Source: Binary

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