Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Bill creates mandatory jail terms for child sex offenders

Media release

The Morrison Government has delivered on another key election promise by tabling a bill in Parliament today that introduces mandatory minimum jail terms for serious child sex offenders.

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Crimes Against Children and Community Protection Measures) Bill 2019 also includes a new maximum life penalty for the most serious Commonwealth offences and a presumption against bail to help keep offenders in custody while they face trial.

Attorney-General Christian Porter said the Morrison Government was committed to keeping Australians safe, especially the most vulnerable in our community - our children.

"Reports of child exploitation to the Australian Federal Police more than doubled last year, which is clear evidence that sentences being handed out by the courts are not acting as an effective deterrent," the Attorney-General said.

"You only have to look at recent sentencing statistics which show 28 per cent of child sex offenders convicted of federal offences last year were not sentenced to a single day in jail, which I believe is totally out of step with community expectations.

"The changes we are proposing will ensure that a jail term becomes the starting point for all serious child sex offenders and repeat offenders, while the maximum penalties will also be increased to better reflect the gravity of these types of crimes.

"Labor did not support these measures in the last Parliament, but I strongly urge them to respect our mandate and rethink their position in the interests of community safety."

The Bill also creates new offences that capture evolving forms of child exploitation such as being the administrator of a website that functions for the purpose of distributing child abuse material.