House debates

Thursday, 2 September 2021

Questions without Notice

Child Abuse

2:51 pm

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

[by video link] My question is to the Minister for Home Affairs. Next week is National Child Protection Week. Will the minister please update the House on how the Morrison government is backing our law enforcement agencies to tackle this evil crime of child sexual exploitation and keep Australians safe?

2:52 pm

Photo of Karen AndrewsKaren Andrews (McPherson, Liberal Party, Minister for Home Affairs) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Ryan for his question. I thank him for representing me yesterday in Brisbane at the launch of a partnership between the NRL and Suncorp Stadium to promote a new campaign to fight child abuse, which will be aired during the NRL finals. I thank everyone involved, and I hope that it can encourage a very important relationship and conversation about child sexual abuse and exploitation, because it is one of the most evil crimes imaginable. It's a crime that can cause lifetime suffering, and too often it goes unreported and unnoticed. Our government is serious about changing that. That's why we established the world-leading Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation. It's known as ACCCE. It's spearheading both our law enforcement and our community awareness efforts, and it's making a real difference.

This morning, I joined the team at ACCCE, along with Australian of the Year, Grace Tame, to launch the Stop the Stigma campaign to encourage people to talk about the crime of child sexual abuse. It's a tough conversation, but it's a conversation that we all need to have, especially in the coming week, which is National Child Protection Week.

I'm sure every Australian would be incredibly shocked to know that, last financial year, the ACCCE received over 22,000 reports of child sexual exploitation. That is over 60 a day. Yet research conducted by ACCCE just last year found that only half of Australian parents talk to their children about online safety, 50 per cent of parents don't know what to do to keep their kids safe online and only three per cent are concerned about online grooming. Most parents believe that online child sexual exploitation is too repulsive to even think about. But it's important that we do talk about it so parents are aware of the risks, particularly online. Just last week, online predators were put on notice with the passage of new laws to give police more powers to identify and disrupt criminals and paedophiles hiding on the dark web. It's a further step in the right direction.

As a government, one of our most crucial jobs is ensuring that law enforcement and intelligence agencies have the tools that they need to combat crime wherever it exists, especially the evil crime of child sexual abuse. To everyone who is here in the chamber, I encourage you, over the coming days and weeks, to start the discussion about online child sexual abuse and to continue to do all that we can to make sure we get rid of this hideous crime.

2:55 pm

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

on indulgence—I associate Labor with the comments of the minister and congratulate her on her ongoing efforts that follow her predecessor. It is an outstanding achievement to establish this centre of excellence. It is world's-best practice and it has the full support of not just this chamber but all decent Australians.