Monday, 15 June 2020
Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Crimes Against Children and Community Protection Measures) Bill 2019; Second Reading
As a servant to the people of Queensland and Australia, I don't serve just voters; I serve everyone who is a resident of Queensland and Australia and that especially includes those who don't vote because they're too young. I won't go over the statistics, the gory details, because they are horrific—other speakers have done this from both sides of the chamber—but I do serve the young. Why do I serve the young? Because the abuse of children is not only the most heinous crime; it is also the destruction of our nation's future.
As I see it, the child—especially the young child, up to about six—is the embodiment of our universe. The lovely eyes of a child and what is going on in the heart of that child is the ultimate expression of our universe. From zero to six are the critical years, according to Maria Montessori, who has done more work than anyone else ever on the development and behaviour of humans. She says that zero to six are the critical years for the development of intellect and character. And some mongrel comes in and steals that young child's development.
I need only look at yesterday and the day before when I was in the Hunter Valley with Stuart Bonds, and we were helping some people who were victims of adult corporate crimes, group crimes. Stuart and his wife, Sini, have a lovely daughter called Penny, and Penny is an absolute delight—eyes shining, heart pumping, asking questions. She's only 2½ but speaks like a four-year-old, like an adult in many ways—full sentences. I was just marvelling at that lovely little human—the embodiment of their universe, combined with the human spirit.
As Tom Peters, the renowned management expert—and I'll always remember it—said many years ago 'The height of our civilisation is the four-year-old.' They're developing, but they haven't been corrupted by a society yet. Children need to be protected. They're naive. More important than that, they are innocent. And they can be preyed upon. They're weak and vulnerable in many ways, despite that sparkle and that energy. When somebody molests a young child, they're doing enormous damage, lasting damage, terrible damage. They're not doing it just to the child because the child's pain plays out for the rest of his or her life. That is terrible. But then what happens to that pain is it sometimes gets transferred to other people when that child becomes an adult and so on—the handing down of that pain, a lifetime of pain with the cost of sorting out that person's problems sometimes later on that is borne by our society or by other individuals. And that is a huge cost to our society.
Every way we look at it, this bill must go forward. We know that sentences on paedophiles are not tough enough. We know that judges are being weak, and society is not dealing with this vital issue anywhere near adequately. We must have much more serious sentencing, because judges have shown they have been weak.
We've had questions about this bill. Senator Hanson and I have listened intensely to the Labor shadow minister, the shadow Attorney-General. He made some good points, provided us with some data. We then went to the Attorney-General and listened to him. He reassured us on those points, on the checks and balances in this bill. Because these are the worst of criminals, but they still need to be treated fairly and within the law.
This bill, as it is now, sends a powerful message to the scum of our society—the absolute scum and dregs of our society. We must be tough on those who hurt the weak, who hurt the vulnerable, who hurt our kids. Our kids are the future. Our kids deserve to be free from this scum. We are voting in favour of this bill, because of our kids. I commend the bill to the Senate.