Paedophile Parole and Child Protection



About this Item
SubjectsChildren; Child Abuse
SpeakersSpeaker; Debnam Mr Peter; Iemma Mr Morris
BusinessQuestions Without Notice


    PAEDOPHILE PAROLE AND CHILD PROTECTION
Page: 1383


    Mr PETER DEBNAM: I direct my question to the Premier. Given that he said, "It is completely understandable that parents and the community want to know where criminals of this nature live and work", why does he put the privacy of paedophiles ahead of the safety of children by refusing to tell families about paedophiles living next-door?

    Mr MORRIS IEMMA: It is completely understandable that parents and the community would want to know where these criminals live and work. However, what we do not want is the criminals driven underground, disappearing without a trace and police losing track of them. How does that protect children and families? When police lose track of them if they are driven underground, how does that protect children? In fact, it has the opposite effect. It just goes to show what a risk the Leader of the Opposition is to the people of New South Wales. On all of the expert advice, he set himself up as the person who knows better than the police, and on Sunday or Saturday—

    Mr Peter Debnam: Point of order: The Premier does not know what he is talking about. The evidence actually suggests that it works. He has no idea how it works in the United States. It actually works and we put up a better plan. He has got none.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! There is no point of order. The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. This is question time; it is not a debate. If the Leader of the Opposition wants to debate the matter he can do so by way of substantive motion.

    Mr MORRIS IEMMA: The Minister for Police advises me that in America approximately 130,000 offenders are not on the register. Where are they? They are out there in the American communities—and are children safer as a result? No, of course not.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will come to order. The Minister for Police will come to order. The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat.

    [Interruption]

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Minister for Police and the Leader of the Opposition will resume their seats.

    [Interruption]

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! I will not tolerate constant calling out across the Chamber and members carrying on private conversations. I call the Leader of The Nationals to order. The Premier has the call.

    Mr MORRIS IEMMA: The available research and expert advice says that taking that action will drive them underground. They take the risk of not registering, so the registration rates go down. They go out into the community, the police lose track of them and the community does not know where they are. That is the available research and the expert advice. Under our existing sex offenders' register New South Wales police have the authority to notify members of the community if they believe a registered offender is opposing a threat to the community. They already have that power.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Minister for Transport will come to order.

    Mr Peter Debnam: Point of order: The Premier is making reference to expert advice. Table the advice. Let us see the advice you are getting from your Labor mates.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! There is no point of order. The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. The honourable member for Gosford will come to order. The Premier has the call.

    Mr MORRIS IEMMA: I put on the record this statement:

    I have the strongest reservations about an open Megan's law approach, particularly because the royal commission has made such strong recommendations in this regard that weigh very heavily with us.

    That was by the honourable member for Epping on 8 June 2000. The Hon. Michael Gallacher placed on record on 20 June 2000 the following:

    The Opposition places on record the strongest reservations about an open Megan's law approach, particularly given the strong recommendations by the royal commission.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Minister for Police will come to order.

    Mr MORRIS IEMMA: Under our existing sex offenders register New South Wales police have the authority to notify members of the community if they believe a registered offender is posing a threat to the community. They already have this power. Under the existing program, which has more than 2,000 offenders on the register, police know where they live, where they work and what cars they drive.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! The honourable member for Wakehurst will come to order.

    Mr MORRIS IEMMA: The approach has not worked in the United States of America. The available research shows that it does not increase child safety or reduce repeat offenders among child sex offenders. There are strong concerns that community notification may actually increase the threat to children, exposing them to additional danger. The police royal commission of 1997 recommended against the introduction of such a law.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Premier has the call.

    Mr MORRIS IEMMA: Hetty Johnson from Bravehearts—perhaps Australia's most authoritative voice on child sex abuse—said this on Saturday about the proposal:

    It makes the offenders more dangerous, not less dangerous, because it drives them underground, forces them into hiding.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs to order.

    Mr MORRIS IEMMA: The Leader of the Opposition sets himself up because he claims he knows better than the police—and Saturday was just the latest example.

    Mr SPEAKER: Order! I call the Minister for Police to order.

    Mr MORRIS IEMMA: The Leader of the Opposition, who calls the police commissioner a clown, said that on day one he would round up 200 people on the basis that he does not like the colour of their skin, where they live or what they look like. We have three examples of the risk the Leader of the Opposition poses to the people of New South Wales because it is never "us and them", the Government working in partnership with the police to keep the community safe. The Leader of the Opposition will pit us against the police commissioner and the police because he knows better. He would round up 200 people without any evidence, without any basis for a charge; he would simply round them up because he thinks they should be rounded up. We saw the latest example on Saturday when he proposed legislation similar to Megan's law. The Leader of the Opposition has ignored expert advice from the police and the recommendations from a royal commission. He would drive child sex offenders not to register, which would imperil the safety of our children.