Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 November 2010) . . Page.. 5400 ..
To conclude, this is an incredibly important, complex and emotionally charged problem. The Greens believe it deserves nothing less than the closest scrutiny in light of all the available evidence. As the Attorney-General has said previously, this bill is about our most vulnerable and valuable residents, our children, and any scheme that seeks to protect them deserves our full attention and our full support.
MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Deputy Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Health and Minister for Industrial Relations) (10.41): On 28 October, the government introduced the Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Amendment Bill 2010 to the Assembly. This bill updates the Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Act 2005 by amending the list of offences that require a person to be registered on the ACT’s register of child sex offenders following the person’s conviction for a scheduled offence.
The ACT government is strongly committed to the protection of our children. Those traits which we cherish in our own children—their innocence, trust and vulnerability—are also qualities that are preyed upon by offenders with the most evil of intentions. Sexual crimes committed against children create immeasurable consequences for the victim, their family and our community. These crimes warrant the specific monitoring and reporting measures imposed by our child sex offender register, which requires offenders to keep police informed of personal information for a period of between four years and life when they are released into the community.
This personal information includes the offender’s name, date of birth, address, the names and ages of children that the person generally lives with and any child the offender has regular unsupervised contact with. The information on the register also extends to employment details, any clubs that the offender is affiliated with, tattoos or permanent markings, travel plans, vehicle details and details of any corresponding offences. Apart from the reporting obligations in the Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Act 2005, the act creates specific offences to prevent registered people from engaging in certain conduct. The act prevents registered child sex offenders from working in child-related employment and offences for failing to report to police.
The commonwealth government is responsible for criminalising the sexual assault and exploitation of children that occurs across Australian jurisdictions and internationally. Recently, the commonwealth has extended its criminal offences relating to sexual offences against children. The commonwealth has introduced new offences for Australians who deal in child pornography and child abuse material overseas. The commonwealth has also strengthened child sex tourism offences by introducing new offences for the preparation steps that precede sexual activity with a child.
As a result of the commonwealth amendment, the ACT must now amend our act to ensure that the new and amended commonwealth offences are included on our schedules of registrable offences. Otherwise, those offenders convicted of the new and reformed commonwealth offences will not be eligible for registration in the ACT. Such offenders would be, in the absence of these amendments, able to travel under the radar.
This bill proposes amendments to the class 1 and class 2 schedules of registrable offences in the Crimes (Child Sex Offenders) Act 2005. The amendments include the