Scott Morrison cuddles up with wife Jenny as he declares his bold plan to crack down on trolls

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Scott Morrison cuddles up to wife Jenny as he declares plan to regulate social media and crack down on online trolls

  • Scott Morrison outlined his plan to tackle online trolling and abuse on Sunday
  • Morrison was joined by his wife Jenny at a youth mental health organisation 
  • The PM sought to distance himself from comments made by Katherine Deves 
  • Mr Morrison threatened to regulate tech firms if they refuse to do more
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Scott Morrison’s wife Jenny joined the prime minster on the campaign trail as he outlined his bold new plan to tackle anonymous trolls on social media.

Speaking at Batyr, a youth-focused mental health organisation in western Sydney, the couple were in a relaxed and lighthearted mood as Mr Morrison underscored his commitment to addressing the issue of online abuse.

The two even cuddled up to each other when speaking about the importance of good mental health and listening to inspirational stories of young adults who’ve overcome trauma. 

As part the pre-election promise, funding will be increased for schools to combat the problem, victim support services will get a boost and laws will be beefed up to laws to target harassment – with tech giants also warned to do their part.

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But the prime minster was later grilled about his support for Warringah candidate Katherine Deves, who has a long history of posting anti-transgender remarks on Twitter.

Scott Morrison's and his wife Jenny hit the campaign trail together to outline the government's plan to tackle cyberbullying (pictured cuddling up together with Liberal candidate for Parramatta Maria Kovacic, right)

Scott Morrison’s and his wife Jenny hit the campaign trail together to outline the government’s plan to tackle cyberbullying (pictured cuddling up together with Liberal candidate for Parramatta Maria Kovacic, right)

‘Our kids should be able to learn, be entertained, or connect with their friends and family without facing abuse, humiliation or online predators,’ he said on Sunday.

‘The online world cannot be a cowards’ cavern where the rules of the real world do not exist.

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‘Big tech and social media giants must be held to account. Our plan will force them to do more – they cannot create it, and wash their hands of all consequences of it.’

He said the plan will ‘help to prevent harm by raising awareness in every school’ and by improving our support for those harmed online.

‘We have achieved so much in the online world, but there is much more to be done, and only a Coalition government will stand up to big tech and social media giants,’ he said.

Scott Morrison (pictured) visited Batyr, a youth-focused mental health organisation in western Sydney, as he underscored his commitment to addressing the issue of online abuse

Scott Morrison (pictured) visited Batyr, a youth-focused mental health organisation in western Sydney, as he underscored his commitment to addressing the issue of online abuse

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Ms Deves was handpicked by Scott Morrison to run in the marginal seat of Warringah against Independent MP Zali Steggall and has a long history of anti-trans remarks on Twitter

Ms Deves was handpicked by Scott Morrison to run in the marginal seat of Warringah against Independent MP Zali Steggall and has a long history of anti-trans remarks on Twitter

The upbeat mood at the campaign doorstop quickly changed when the prime minister was asked about his support for Katherine Deves, who he handpicked to win back the marginal Sydney seat of Warringah at the May 21 election.

The controversial candidate has previously claimed on social media that ‘half of all males with trans identities are sex offenders’ and also described trans people as ‘surgically mutilated’.

Mr Morrison hoping to distance himself from the fallout noted that Ms Deves has since deleted the post and withdrawn the remarks. He also stressed that he in no way supported the comments. 

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Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny were in a relaxed and lighthearted mood for the campaign stop (pictured together with reporters)

Scott Morrison and his wife Jenny were in a relaxed and lighthearted mood for the campaign stop (pictured together with reporters)

The Coalition’s proposed measures to tackle online abuse includes increased funding for schools to stamp out the problem, a boost in victim support services and tougher penalties for online trolls.

Mr Morrison has also vowed regulate parental controls on smartphones to protect children, if tech companies refuse to introduce effective controls themselves. 

However, earlier attempts to amend defamation laws at the federal level have so far proved unsuccessful. 

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The couple sat in on a roundtable discussion where they listened to young adults share their stories on issues surrounding mental health and family trauma

The couple sat in on a roundtable discussion where they listened to young adults share their stories on issues surrounding mental health and family trauma 

WHAT IS THE COALITION’S KEEPING CHILDREN SAFE FROM CYBERBULLYING?

– A $23 million eSafety Schools package to raise awareness of the eSafety Commissioner’s support across every school in Australia, provide training programs for teachers, new and improved online safety resources for schools and enhance the Trusted eSafety Provider Program that connects schools with external online safety providers that meet high standards.

– Ensuring smartphones and tablet devices have strong parental controls installed that are easier to find and activate (particularly when first setting up a device) and harder for kids to bypass, through a binding industry code under the Online Safety Act. If industry doesn’t act within 12 months, we will regulate to force them.

– $10 million for the eSafety Commissioner to further expand coordination with other regulatory and law enforcement agencies, ensuring victims ‘tell-us-once’ and are supported into the right service, so they spend more time recovering and less time in bureaucracy.

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– Legislating the Social Media (Anti-Trolling) laws to ensure social media companies are held accountable as publishers and Australians are given more power to deal with harmful defamatory comments from anonymous trolls.

– Supporting online safety in multicultural Australia by earmarking $2 million under the Online Safety Grants for projects that support women and girls in CALD communities.

Source: Australian Liberal Party 

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