Tuesday, 20 June 2017
Passports Legislation Amendment (Overseas Travel by Child Sex Offenders) Bill 2017; In Committee
It is with a certain amount of regret that I, on behalf of the Australian Greens, am unable to support these amendments either, but certainly we do support the intent. The Australian Greens will be supporting this bill, and I do want to acknowledge the work of Senator Derryn Hinch for bringing this matter before us tonight and also the passion and commitment with which Senator Kakoschke-Moore has stated her case and that of the Nick Xenophon Team—and indeed everyone in the chamber tonight. It is one of those issues, when I first became aware that the government had brought this bill forward, where you wonder why this is not already part of Australian domestic law. So, I do acknowledge that the government has brought it forward, and I look forward to committing the bill to the chamber.
Through no fault of Senator Kakoschke-Moore—because the government flipped around the order of business tonight rather rapidly and without warning—we have had less than an hour to assess the amendments that have been brought forward by the Nick Xenophon Team. We are very happy to work with crossbenchers, the government and the opposition to assess these amendments, which are far reaching. Having just heard the harrowing case that was put by Senator Kakoschke-Moore on the horrors that have been perpetrated against very young children here and around the world, anything this parliament can do to make it harder for people to do these horrifying things to young children anywhere in the world, we should do. Whether these things are being carried out on Australian shores or overseas or they are enabled by the internet, it should not be possible for this to take place, and it should certainly not be possible for it to fall through a legal loophole. We do not think that child sex offenders should benefit from ambiguities, if they exist, around the information that ISPs must provide to authorities relating to offences.
So it is through no fault with the intention of what you have brought forward; it is simply that, having only had such a brief time to consider this amendment, we are unable to support it at this time, but we are willing to work with anybody of good intent and goodwill to bring an amendment, or indeed a bill, whether it be a private senator's bill or a government bill, forward to close these loopholes as they exist. We look forward to that being committed to the chamber.