Functions and responsibilities
The functions of the eSafety Commissioner are set out in section 15 of the Enhancing Online Safety Act 2015 (EOS Act) and accompanying legislative rules.
In accordance with the legislation, eSafety’s specific responsibilities include:
- administering a cyberbullying complaints scheme for serious cyberbullying material that targets an Australian child
- administering the Online Content Scheme for the removal of prohibited or potentially prohibited internet content, in accordance with schedules 5 and 7 to the Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (BSA)
- administering a complaints and objections system for non-consensual sharing of intimate images (otherwise known as image-based abuse)
- issuing notices to content services and hosting services about abhorrent violent material available on their services via amendments to the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
- coordinating activities of Commonwealth departments, authorities and agencies relating to online safety for children
- supporting, encouraging, conducting, accrediting and evaluating educational, promotional and community awareness programs that are relevant to online safety
- supporting, encouraging, conducting and evaluating research about online safety
- advising the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts about online safety
- promoting online safety for people at risk of family or domestic violence, including the risks of using technology
- supporting, encouraging and conducting educational, promotional, training and community awareness programs that are relevant to online safety for people at risk of family or domestic violence.
The EOS Act establishes the eSafety Commissioner as an independent statutory office holder, supported by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
The ACMA provides corporate support services and staff to fulfil the functions of eSafety under section 67 of the EOS Act. These staff are not under the direction of the ACMA; however, they are employed under the terms of the ACMA Enterprise Agreement 2017–2020.
In 2018–19, eSafety was staffed by the Commissioner, had an average staffing level of 50 staff as at 30 June 2019 and a number of contractors. Staff were located in the ACMA’s Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra offices.
Julie Inman Grant was appointed as eSafety Commissioner on 23 November 2016 and she began in the role in January 2017.
Ms Inman Grant began her career in Washington, DC, working in the US Congress and the non-profit sector before taking on a role at Microsoft. Her experience at Microsoft spanned 17 years, serving as one of the company’s first and longest-standing government relations professionals, and ultimately in the role of Global Safety Director for safety policy and outreach.
At Twitter, Ms Inman Grant headed up Public Policy for Australia and South-East Asia, managing a range of public policy issues, including online safety and countering violent extremism. She also built Twitter’s ‘Rules and Tools’ for safety, and conceptualised and piloted #PositionofStrength, which serves as Twitter’s global female safety and empowerment program.
Ms Inman Grant also served as Director of Government Relations Asia-Pacific at Adobe, where she worked with governments across the region on issues such as innovation and digital transformation, creativity and STEM skills development, and cybersecurity.
Before starting as the eSafety Commissioner, Ms Inman Grant was a member of the Online Safety Consultative Working Group and has worked with Australian law enforcement to roll out programs like ThinkUKnow, the Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS) and Computer-facilitated Crimes against Children training.