Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Mandatory sentencing for sexual crimes against children

My adjournment debate is for the Attorney General. I stood in this place on 17 June 2020, around 480 days ago, and asked a question about mandatory minimum sentencing for those who sexually abuse children. That question is still unanswered. My question was in response to the federal Labor Party announcing its support for a government bill that introduced mandatory minimum sentencing for the most serious child sex offences. This included a mandatory minimum of one to four years for recidivist child sex offenders. The federal bill also included a maximum penalty for child sex offenders of life imprisonment and the presumption against bail to keep offenders in custody while they await trial. Before my speech I read that last year around 39 per cent of convicted commonwealth child sex offenders did not spend a single day in prison in the 2018–19 financial year. I said then and I will say it again now: this is totally out of step with public expectation. I understand it has been a busy 18 months, but for me and my party, finding ways to reduce child sex offending will always be our top priority. This is why it makes me so disappointed and frustrated that I have waited over 480 days for a response to this question of why the state government will not join their federal counterparts in committing to mandatory sentencing for child sex perpetrators. I have also sent multiple reminders to the state Government Whip, so it is not as if I have not tried to get an answer in an amicable way. This is extremely important to my party, our members and our constituents, and we would very much appreciate an answer. Therefore the action that I seek from the minister is to please respond to my question from June 2020 about why this state government does not reflect its federal party in imposing mandatory sentencing for sexual crimes against children.


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