Scarlet News:

Deepfake Politics

Jun 20, 2024 | Media release

Joint media release by Scarlet Alliance and Assembly Four

Following the announcement of new Commonwealth criminal laws to ban the non-consensual sharing of sexually explicit material, including digitally manipulated deepfakes, sex workers and human rights advocates are left with more questions than answers.

Australian states and territories already have criminal penalties for the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, including digitally altered images; and Commonwealth criminal laws exist that criminalise using an electronic service to menace, harass, or cause offence; with penalties that can attract up to 7 years imprisonment. Additionally, the eSafety Commissioner has broad powers to remove serious online abuse.

These new laws do not solve anything. Responses to image based abuse should be victim-centred and evidence-based, not heavy handed criminalisation. These laws are also drafted in such a way that the sharing of freely available pornography could lead to jail time. Young people who are sexually curious, tech literate and participating in peer-to-peer sharing platforms could inadvertently be harmed by laws intended to protect them.

Scarlet Alliance CEO, Mish Pony:
“As individual sex workers, many of us are involved in the consensual sharing of intimate and explicit images for money. As a community, sex workers have a vested interest in the laws and policies surrounding sexually explicit image sharing.”

Assembly Four Founder, Eliza Sorensen:
“We have a profound understanding of the consequences and harm that comes from the distribution of non-consensual intimate imagery. The Criminal Code Amendment (Deepfake Sexual Material) Bill 2024 in its current format will only complicate the process for those seeking help.”

Interview requests:
Mish Pony 0402 633 424
Eliza Sorensen 0491 060 780


Update on 24 June 2024: A man was sentanced on Friday 21 June 2024 for uploading digitally altered images of 26 women to a porn site” under the existing Commonwealth using a carriage service to cause offence laws. This ruling further brings into question why new laws are being introduced, and why the Government thinks they are needed.