Claims ‘paedophiles prioritised’ as state says no register

 

Paedophile safety is being prioritised above community concerns while the State Government stands firm on its refusal to sign up to a National Child Sex Offenders' Register, a Coalition MP has declared.

The Queensland Government is yet to throw its support behind the Morrison Government's $7.8m register - which would reveal an offender's name, photograph, nature of offending and general locality - citing a lack of evidence it would be effective in improving community safety.

Queensland Coalition MP Julian Simmonds has lashed out at the State Government, accusing it of failing community expectations.

"Labor is putting these heinous criminals ahead of our kids' safety and it's simply unbelievable," he said.

"I can't see any viable reason why they would be holding back.

"Parents have the right to know the scourge that's going on in their neighbourhood."

His call comes as bombshell Australian Federal Police figures reveal 158 people have been charged with 1766 child exploitation offences this financial year to April.

It compares to 161 people charged with 1214 offences in 2019-20.

The rapid escalation comes after 74 people were charged with 372 child exploitation offences in 2018-19.

Julian Simmonds delivering his Maiden Speech in the House of Representatives Chamber, at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Kym Smith
Julian Simmonds delivering his Maiden Speech in the House of Representatives Chamber, at Parliament House in Canberra. Picture Kym Smith

Mr Simmonds, Chair of the Joint Parliamentary Committee for Law Enforcement, dismissed concerns the register would create vigilantism, with only the general location of an offender to be published.

"We have to be constantly supervising our kids and there is a real and present danger out there," he said.

Data for the public register would be provided by states, meaning it will not work without their co-operation.

Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said there was a lack of advice to show the register would be effective.

"Queensland was part of the Commonwealth-led National Working Group on Child Sex Offenders who agreed the effectiveness of any National Public Register will need to be evidence-based, but that the evidence base has not been yet identified," she said.

"It's crucial that any decisions made should better protect children and hold sex offenders to account, and I would be open to consider a National Child Sex Offenders register if the evidence can show that it would improve the safety of Queenslanders."

Child safety advocates Bruce and Denise Morcombe have long campaigned for the creation of a National Child Sex Offenders Register.

"It's about educating the public about the monsters that live in our community," Mr Morcombe said.

"They have the right to know who is living in their community and it is not about punishing someone a second time, or about the potential vigilante backlash."

 

Bruce and Denise Morcombe at Daniel House in Palmwoods. Picture: Brad Fleet/ National News Network
Bruce and Denise Morcombe at Daniel House in Palmwoods. Picture: Brad Fleet/ National News Network

 

Mr Morcombe will appear before a Victorian Parliament inquiry this month to discuss the merits of a public sex offenders register.

"Once we get one state up they will all follow," he said.

In 2019 the Law Council of Australia raised concerns about the proposal for a national register, declaring state authorities already "have extensive powers to monitor and check child sex offenders".

The renewed calls for a national register come after Terry Dunnett last month became the first Queensland man to be convicted of possessing child-like sex dolls under the Federal Government's Combating Child Sexual Exploitation Legislation.

 

Terry John Dunnett pleaded guilty and was sentenced for possessing child-like sex dolls. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled
Terry John Dunnett pleaded guilty and was sentenced for possessing child-like sex dolls. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Dan Peled

 

Dunnett, 45, was convicted on April 22 of purchasing sex dolls representing kids aged four, five and eight to 10 years.

Mr Simmonds was furious the "scumbag" was able to walk "straight out of court and back into our community" on a two-year suspended sentence.

 

Originally published as Claims 'paedophiles prioritised' as state says no to public register



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