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The federal opposition has launched an Online Safety Working Group to be chaired by former Optus head of regulatory affairs and current Liberal MP Paul Fletcher.

The group, designed to shield us all from the evils of the internet will consult with key technology, education and cyber-safety leaders, parents and young people, as well as other interested parties, to further develop Coalition online safety policy in the areas of education, regulation and enforcement.

Fletcher said that “as a parliamentarian, as a former senior telecommunications executive and as a dad, I know that this is a really important issue.”

Fletcher added that the group includes a range of parents, grandparents and people with backgrounds in education, in law enforcement and in the internet and communications sector.

In the next few month the working group will undertake roundtables and community forums across Australia as well as a series of events online. The Online Safety Working Group will report back to the Opposition Leader and Shadow Cabinet by mid 2012.

“We will work closely with Shadow Ministers that have portfolios that cover the issue of online safety, particularly the Shadow Ministers for Education and Communications,” he said.

The Coalition said that it “does not seek to repeat Labor’s ham-fisted attempt to put a filter on the internet or to hinder the dynamic nature of the online environment,” but it does want to assist parents and teachers in their work of protecting children online and preparing them for adulthood. ®

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