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The Nightly survey by Painted Dog finds majority of Aussies favour government intervention on Temu and TikTok

Josh Zimmerman
The West Australian
3 Min Read
The Nightly survey by Painted Dog finds majority of Aussies favour government intervention on Temu and TikTok.
The Nightly survey by Painted Dog finds majority of Aussies favour government intervention on Temu and TikTok. Credit: The Nightly

Most Australians want Commonwealth intervention on TikTok and Temu amid growing ethical and security concerns over the Chinese-operated apps.

An exclusive poll conducted by Painted Dog Research for The Nightly found 60 per cent of respondents wanted a crack down on the wildly popular video-sharing and e-commerce platforms.

Both the Albanese Government and Federal Opposition have refused to reveal whether their MPs have used Temu’s online marketplace, which offers a huge range of products at bargain basement prices.

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Security experts have raised concerns over both TikTok and Temu as China’s national security laws require companies to cooperate with Chinese Communist Party security agencies while prohibiting them from publicly disclosing whether they have accessed the data.

US lawmakers have also warned there was an “extremely high risk” products sold by Temu could have been made with or linked to forced labour.

TikTok has been prohibited on Australian government devices used by public servants since last April, a move that followed the US implementing a similar ban at the end of 2022.

The US House of Representatives this month approved a Bill that seeks to force TikTok to divest from its Chinese owner, ByteDance, within six months or be banned from America entirely.

It remains unclear whether the unprecedented law will win the support of the Senate, especially with influential former President Donald Trump opposed to the move.

The Painted Dog Research survey of 1014 Australians over 18 – conducted March 27 and 28 – found a majority of respondents in all states and territories and across household groups agreed that the Albanese Government should “clamp-down” on TikTok and Temu.

The strongest level of support by far was in Queensland (67 per cent) followed by New South Wales and the ACT (60 per cent), while South Australia and the NT were closer to an even split (55 per cent).

Older respondents who identified as empty nesters were also far keener for government intervention (71 per cent) than younger households with no children (52 per cent) and young families (54 per cent).

Men were slightly more inclined to support action on TikTok and Temu than women (62 per cent versus 58 percent).

Greens NSW Senator David Shoebridge this week called on the major parties to “show some leadership” on data security concerns linked to Temu.

While admitting to purchasing a set of air fryer cooking liners on Temu, Senator Shoebridge said he had since deleted the app after learning about the potential privacy issues and lack of supply chain safeguards.

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Greens NSW Senator David Shoebridge this week called on the major parties to “show some leadership” on data security concerns linked to Temu.  Credit: News Corp Australia

When asked if the government should ban Temu on government devices in the same manner as TikTok, Senator Shoebridge said online regulation should focus on privacy risks instead of from which country they are based.

“Rather than playing a geopolitical game of whack a mole where only applications based in some countries are sanctioned, regulation should focus on real privacy risks to the community for all platforms regardless of where they are based,” he said.

The Home Affairs Department is developing a framework to address “vendor-based national security risks” that will go to the Government for consideration in the second half of 2024 and has brought forward a review of the data broker ecosystem.

The Nightly previously revealed Temu was unlikely to pay meaningful corporate tax in Australia because its Chinese-owned parent company PDD Holdings is headquartered in known offshore tax havens.

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