Tuesday, 13 June 2017
I want to talk tonight about an issue that usually sounds like one word, especially during election campaigns and that word is 'law and order'. I will talk mostly about law and hope that some order will follow. The issue is in the news again right now for a number of reasons. Last week after the horrors of the terrorist attack in Brighton, the PM and the premiers agreed on law state and federal cooperation over the parole, which should not have been granted to the Brighton killer—whom I deliberately will not name—or to Man Monis. The idea was also floated for a federal prison for terrorist, an idea I supported last week, and I am pleased to see will happen in a deal between Canberra and New South Wales at Goulburn. When they have done their time, if they not Australian citizens, or dual citizens, they should be sent back to where they came from.
While I am talking about Brighton, I want to have a look at the leaders on the TV news. There were the obligatory words of condolence, solemn faces, the dropped voices but not much recognition of a man, the night manager, doing is job, 15 days married. Did our leaders even remember his name? I tweeted:
Kai Hao, an innocent man, treated almost like collateral damage after Brighton terror attack.
I wondered: was it because he was Chinese? If it been a Brighton father of three, it would have made page 1 for a week. And then there was the poor innocent woman held hostage by the killer, who got her there and murdered Kai Hao just to attract police. She was almost disregarded because of her profession, because she was a prostitute. I Tweeted on that one:
Notice scant regard for woman held hostage by Brighton killer. Is that because she was a prostitute? Appalling lapse by our leaders.
To the critics who were asked why the media had to mention that she was a prostitute, a sex worker, it was important for people to know why an escort had been called to a hotel trap, in case people thought that maybe she was an accomplice and complicit in the murder of an innocent man.
But to other matters, now, of law and order. I mentioned that words get bandied around a lot in election campaigns, and it is no coincidence that I am standing here tonight as an elected senator for Derryn Hinch's Justice Party. Around this country people in their thousands, hundreds of thousands—maybe even millions; and I am not exaggerating—are fed up with our bail system and our parole system and are totally sickened and disillusioned by a system where milksop magistrates and judges keep putting back on our streets the killers of Jill Meagher, Masa Vukotic, Mersina Halvagis, Tori Johnson and Katrina Dawson. Judges who, last week in Adelaide, let a collector of child pornography walk free—serving not one day in jail, even though William John Webster had been a shopping centre Santa Claus for kids—and I am told he had form. You wonder what the bleep is going on here.
It is no wonder that people want to open their windows and emulate Peter Finch in that prescient movie, Network, and shout: 'I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore!' That is why I held a media conference here at Parliament House today for those amazing Australians, Bruce and Denise Morcombe, to announce the relaunch of my long campaign for a national public register of convicted sex offenders. It shall be called 'Daniel's law' in memory of their son who was taken from them, and from us, by a monster who should not have been out of jail after what he did to a young boy he abducted from a Darwin caravan park, abandoned and left to die. As I said, and as I mentioned to the Attorney-General in question time today, we want to get Daniel's law on to the COAG agenda. This is the Australian version of Megan's law, which they have had in the United States for more than 20 years.
We are making progress. Tomorrow in the other place the government will be introducing a new law that I proposed and helped to draft, for taking passports away from convicted paedophiles who are on the child sex offender national register. This is an attempt to stop these perverts from going on child rape holidays in South-East Asia. There are 20,000 men and some women on that register, including more than 3,000 for life. This will be the biggest passport recall since Federation, and you just cannot believe it did not happen years ago. That leads me to Carly's law, a law designed to protect teenagers from online predators who pose as youngsters to entrap, compromise and blackmail—and even rape and murder—unsuspecting and vulnerable kids, which is what happened to Carly Ryan in Adelaide. I will leave it to Senators Xenophon and Kakoschke-Moore and Carly's indefatigable mum, Sonya, to explain the legal details.
But I want to take this opportunity and deliberately use parliamentary privilege to tell you a horror story of a failing of our legal system that scandalously supressed, and continues to suppress, a serial rapist's name and whereabouts. This is a monster who was complicit in an earlier rape and murder who went on to stalk and rape, I believe, 13 teenage girls under the age of 16 and then only spent less than three years in jail—which is a diabolical abuse of our system and also of those teenage rape victims. Listen to this and weep. It is the story of a teenager who never was—his name is Stephen Newman. As of right now in the media he does not exist and never did. Yet he featured prominently in a recent headline-making murder trial in South Australia. He was the defendant. Stephen Newman was charged with taking part in the murder of 15-year-old Carly Ryan at a deserted beach. So was his father, Garry Francis Newman, who used bogus identities on the internet to try to entice about 200 young girls into his planned sexual web. One of them he raped and he killed, and that was Carly Ryan.
For the three years they were in custody, both father and son had their names suppressed. Garry Newman was found guilty of Carly Ryan's murder; Stephen Newman was eventually acquitted. An Adelaide judge lifted the suppression order on the name and photographs of the father, but she continued a suppression order on the 19-year-old son, and it seemed like the media agreed to rewrite history. In all of the stories that appeared about this case you would think that Garry Newman acted alone at all times; his son was never in Adelaide with him; he was never at that beach; never knew what his father was up to; had never offended. The prosecution alleged that the then 14-year-old Carly Ryan fell in love on the internet with a man she thought was a 20-year-old, guitar playing, Texas-born muso called Brandon Kane who lived with his adoptive father, Shane, in Melbourne.
The prosecution claimed that Brandon was a cyberspace alter ego created by both the father and the son—Garry and Stephen Newman—to seduce Carly Ryan. She did meet the father when he, not Brandon, turned up at her 15th birthday party, and when she rejected him for being 'old and fat and gross', he vowed to fix her up. And fix her up they did. Father and son lured Carly to a deserted beach at Victor Harbor on a pretext. There the father bashed her about the head, buried her head in the sand and killed her. The son, Stephen, allegedly confessed to social workers that he helped his father 'cover it up'. In fact, during the long court case the father tried to blame his son for the rape and murder of Carly Ryan.
The jury was obviously troubled because at one stage they asked the judge if they could find one man guilty of murder and the other guilty of manslaughter. Justice Trish Kelly said they could, but to find Stephen Newman guilty of murder they had to be sure he participated in the plot to kill Carly. She said he could not be found guilty of assisting an offender because he had never been specifically charged with that crime. Ultimately the father, Garry Newman, was found guilty and the son, Stephen Newman, was acquitted. Garry Newman's name and pictures were everywhere. Stephen Newman's name remained and remains officially suppressed.
So what happened next? Stephen Newman, who at least held Carly Ryan's legs down while his father raped her, went on to commit rapes of 13 girls under the age of 16 in Melbourne. He targeted them and he stalked them, and for that he received only 35 months in jail—less than three years for all those brutal crimes, about 10 weeks a victim. I know these sentencing details only from police sources because the county court refused to give out any information on the serial rapist, because they said to one of my staffers, 'You're from Senator Hinch's office.' Supposedly, it is in the public's interest to hide this serial rapist's identity. That is why I am naming this scumbag. He does not deserve anonymity. He does not deserve a suppression order.
I will say, 'So much for law and order.' Stephen Newman is now free. He is living out there anonymously in Melbourne tonight. He is back on Facebook. He is building another web. Do you know what? He will offend again. He will rape again, just like he was involved in 15-year-old Carly Ryan's rape and murder, as sure as I am standing here. That one he got away with. So I ask you again tonight, as I have asked a thousand times over the years: who is looking after the children?