Legislative Council: Wednesday, March 20, 2024


Child Sex Offenders

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI (Leader of the Opposition) (14:22): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Attorney-General regarding child sex offences.

Leave granted.

The Hon. N.J. CENTOFANTI: In the District Court cases listed on 19 March 2024, seven out of the 30 cases were related to child sex offences or child exploitation material. That is approximately 23 per cent of all cases on that day alone. My question to the Attorney is: does the government have any intention to introduce legislation or policy to reduce the alarming prevalence of child sex offences?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:23): I thank the honourable member for her question very much and I would be most pleased to answer this because I think that has been the hallmark of some of the policies and the legislation from opposition that we introduced and certainly some of the legislation that we have been proactive with since we have been in government.

Since we have been in government, we certainly have dramatically increased the penalties that apply to a whole range of child sex offences, in some cases almost tripling the potential penalties that people face. This serves a twofold purpose: firstly, a purpose of making sure that those who commit these sorts of crimes spend more time in jail and away from society where they can cause harm, but also as a deterrent to engage in this sort of heinous behaviour.

In addition to increasing a whole range of penalties, we have a number of election commitments that we will be fulfilling during this term to make sure that the horrendous effects from people who prey on children are lessened and people spend more time in jail.