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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 05 Hansard (Friday, 14 May 2004) . . Page.. 1926 ..

I present the Crimes Legislation Amendment Bill 2004. This bill is the result of a government commitment to implement legislation necessary for the Commonwealth to ratify the International Labour Organisation’s Convention No 182 concerning the prohibition and immediate action for the elimination of the worst forms of child labour. The convention obliges Australia to take immediate and effective measures to prohibit the worst forms of child labour and, under the federal system, this obligation falls to the states and territories.

The government supports the ratification of the convention so today brings forward amendments to the Crimes Act 1900 and to the Prostitution Act 1992. The government also supports the Commonwealth’s intention to ratify the United Nations’ optional protocol to the convention on the rights of the child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. The convention and optional protocol oblige state parties to criminalise serious violations of the rights of persons under the age of 18.

At present the Crimes Act offences of employing a child for pornography or possessing child pornography only apply if the person is under 16 years of age. The government believes that it is appropriate to raise the age for these offences to 18 years. This will not change the age of consent for sexual intercourse, but will add an important measure of protection for children aged 16 and 17 from exploitation for pornographic purposes. The Prostitution Act already criminalises causing or permitting persons under 18 years of age to engage in prostitution.

The amendments in this bill will insert new offences in the Crimes Act to ensure adequate punishment for those who use or otherwise involve children under the age of 18 years in the production of child pornography and the giving of pornographic performances, and also for those who trade in and possess child pornography. The amendments will also insert a revised offence in the Prostitution Act to ensure adequate punishment for those who cause, permit, offer, or procure children for prostitution. The government is confident that these amendments will put beyond doubt the territory’s compliance with the convention and with the optimal protocol. I commend the bill to the Assembly.

Debate (on motion by Mr Stefaniak) adjourned to the next sitting.

Justice and Community Safety Legislation Amendment Bill 2004

Mr Stanhope, pursuant to notice, presented the bill and its explanatory statement.

Title read by Clerk.

MR STANHOPE (Chief Minister, Attorney-General, Minister for Environment and Minister for Community Affairs) (10.59): I move:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

I seek leave to have my speech incorporated into Hansard.

Leave granted.

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