House debates

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Statements by Members

Child Abuse

1:40 pm

Photo of Julian SimmondsJulian Simmonds (Ryan, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

There is no more important responsibility for this House than protecting our vulnerable kids in Australia. Child sexual abuse is a very real threat. It is a scourge. We must not shy away from it and we must tackle it head on. It's highly confronting. The things we hear about this terrible crime are incredibly hard to comprehend and process, but we cannot stay silent on this issue because that is what the predators count on. The predators count on us turning away—turning the volume down on the TV when we hear a story on the news because we don't want to hear it—when really we should be turning it up and having that difficult conversation with our families and our kids.

The importance of highlighting this issue has led me, along with my colleague who's in the chamber today—the member for McNamara, who is as passionate about this issue as I am—to found the Parliamentary Friends for Combating Child Exploitation in Australia and the ACCCE. On Tuesday, we launched this important group and heard from the AFP Assistant Commissioner, Lesa Gale, and Detective Sergeant Kate Laidler, the AFP Victim Identification Officer, who provided an update on the recent Operation Arkstone. The recently-completed operation resulted in 46 children in Australia being removed from harm and 828 charges laid. The reality is to start having a conversation with your children early, go to the ACCCE website as parents and find the resources there, take the seven-day online safety challenge and help protect your family and community.