Media Release: New Abhorrent Violent Material Act strangles S&M web videos

Senator Duncan Spender has exposed a flaw in the Sharing Abhorrent Violent Material Act that passed the parliament sight unseen late last week: it has made sado-masochistic (S&M) videos posted on websites a criminal offence.

In Estimates earlier today, Senator Spender questioned if the new Act unintentionally created an obligation on websites to remove videos which depict torture, even if it is consensual.

Attorney-General Deputy Secretary, Sarah Chidgey, confirmed his suspicions, saying that if the material published on websites fits the definition of torture as defined in the Act, S&M videos may be captured.

“This Act was rushed through the parliament late last week when it clearly needed redrafting, including to deal with consensual torture,” Senator Spender explained.

“This means that S&M videos posted on websites have become a criminal offence overnight.

Labor and Coalition Senators combined to pass the Criminal Code Amendment (Sharing of Abhorrent Violent Material) Bill 2019 at a minute to midnight.

“All of this could have been avoided if the Bill was circulated as per normal procedure; instead the Bill was approved by both Labor and Coalition Senators without even seeing it. The Bill passed the Senate sight unseen.

“I picked up on this oversight in relation to S&M as soon as the Bill became available, but alas it went through unchanged.

“This is why it is imperative that voters use their vote in the Senate wisely, to ensure a crossbench can stop flawed legislation from being waived through by complicit government or opposition Senators,” Senator Spender warned.

View the video from Estimates here.

Media: Kate Fantinel 0401 620 227

Kate.Fantinel@aph.gov.au