Peta Credlin has called The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Crimes against Children and Community Protection Measures) Bill 2017, “the most significant reform to the legal framework concerning child sex offenders in decades.”
The Bill would introduce mandatory minimum penalties for child sex offenders and repeat offenders, extend their jail time, and make it less likely pedophiles would be granted parole.
While the current laws may appear strong, Credlin suggests, the courts water them down in sentencing. “Since 2012, only 58.7% of convicted Commonwealth child sex offenders received a term of imprisonment.” Of those who did, the most common period of actual imprisonment was just six months.
No doubt most of us would feel somewhat indignant just reading that. Who could possibly oppose a stronger crackdown on pedophiles?
Credlin continues: “Right now this bill is not law because the Labor Party and the Greens oppose the introduction of mandatory sentences for child sex offenders.” Instead, Labor has said they would support increased sentences. The problem is, the sentences are already there. “What’s missing are laws to force judges to actually hand the sentences out.” So, increasing the penalty will do nothing unless there are mandatory minimum penalties.
Labor’s Justice spokeswoman Clare O’Neil argued, “Mandatory minimums let guilty people off the hook because juries are less likely to convict them when they know there is no discretion about sentences… [they] mean that criminals will not cooperate with police to bring the kingpins who run child abuse networks to justice.”1
According to Justice Minister Michael Keenan, Labor and the Greens are putting children at risk, arguing their decision meant, “predators may not even spend one day behind bars.” Ultimately, as Keenan states, “A vote against these reforms is a vote to allow more pedophiles into the community.”
If you agree, Credlin has urged readers to let Bill Shorten know what you think by calling his Parliament House office on 02 6277 4022, or by sending an email to Bill.Shorten.MP@aph.gov.au.