Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 November 2010) . . Page.. 5398 ..
consider and develop the bill, and yet he expects the opposition and the crossbench parties to consider and debate this bill in less than three weeks. Last week Mr Corbell had the temerity to lecture me about giving notice for business to be conducted in the Assembly but, clearly, his philosophy is one of “do as I say and not as I do”.
We have here an important bill that goes to the protection of our city’s future: our children—some of the most vulnerable people in our community. Mr Corbell has been talking about this at police ministers councils and through his department and, presumably, through other justice agencies. He has spent time drafting the bill—making sure it complements the laws in other jurisdictions—embracing the laws of the commonwealth, getting it through the cabinet process and, finally, introducing it to the Assembly. Then he asks us, as well as the scrutiny of bills committee, with our limited resources, to give appropriate review and consideration to a bill of considerable importance in less than three weeks. Given Mr Corbell’s outburst in the government business meeting last week, I consider this hypocrisy at its worst. Mr Corbell should remember the fragility of the glass house in which he is standing before he starts throwing stones.
That said, the Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Amendment Bill is an important one because it updates the provisions of the act to keep pace with the safeguards that have been put in place at a national level to protect children not only in Australia but around the world. It is a sad fact of life that there are those who would prey on the vulnerability of children. We saw in the Canberra Times only last week a report of a case involving child pornography, grooming of children, deception and a range of other child sex offences. So there is no reason why we should think that Canberra should be somehow immune from these kinds of activities.
Our children are our future. We must do everything we can to protect them. People who prey on children are the worst kind of offenders. We must keep up with and indeed be ahead of the ability of child sex offenders to invent ways of satisfying their salacious appetites. This bill reflects a national approach and deserves support. We will give it that support. Perhaps if this government and Mr Corbell were more open with other parties in this place on these kinds of issues, they might pass through this place in a more collegiate manner.
MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (10.37): The Greens will be supporting this bill today. The bill updates the list of offences which trigger the requirement for an offender to be listed on the ACT’s child sex offenders register. On the one hand, the bill today makes straightforward, administrative amendments that are required following the passage of a bill through federal parliament. On the other hand, it is a bill which deals with the incredibly important, complex and emotionally charged problem of child sex offenders. It is a problem which is being grappled with by governments and parliaments globally.
So, notwithstanding the relatively simple nature of the amendments, the bill deals with significant issues and deserves the appropriate level of analysis. In 2005, when the ACT legislated to create the child sex offenders register, the decision was taken to list each individual commonwealth offence which would trigger the ACT legislation. At that stage, there were 18 offences under commonwealth law and included crimes