Minister’s research horse chases his closed-mind cart

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has – in late February 2009 – commissioned research into "cyber-safety". This comes after he has already decided to impose mandatory internet filtering on all Australians. But no dates, guidelines, aims or pre-ordained yardsticks have been announced for the research. Read the media release…

Here’s the media release:

Research to inform cyber-safety policies

A major review of Australian and international research on cyber-safety will be undertaken by Edith Cowan University.

"The Rudd Government has committed to a comprehensive and evidence-based approach to cyber-safety policies and it is important that this is informed by a sound understanding of the risks facing children in the online environment," said Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy.

The research project will be undertaken through the Child Health Promotion Research Centre at Edith Cowan University and overseen by Professor Donna Cross, one of Australia’s leading researchers in the field of child health.

The project will review current research on matters such as the nature and prevalence of cyber-safety issues, such as cyber-bullying, online predators and the disclosure of personal information.

Edith Cowan University will also explore views on the consequences of these risks, and what technical and behavioural measures can be used by children, parents and teachers to help reduce them.

"The Government has always recognised that there is no silver bullet to improve cyber-safety and this research will help us to implement the range of measures put forward in our comprehensive cyber-safety plan," Senator Conroy said.

At the last Budget the Government announced a comprehensive $125.8 million cyber safety plan including:

  • education and information measures;
  • law enforcement, including 91 extra Australian Federal Police officers;
  • resources such as help-lines and websites;
  • ISP-level content filtering;
  • consultative arrangements with industry, child protection bodies and children; and
  • research to identify possible areas for further action.

For further information on the Government’s cyber-safety policy including frequently asked questions visit:

Date: 23 February 2009
Contact: Tim Marshall 0408 258 457

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