CANDIDATE Q&A: Addressing a child sex offender register
THE NewsMail asked all candidates running in the state election for Bundaberg and Burnett about their stance on a child sex offender register.
All candidates have been sent the questions. The candidates who feature below have responded.
The Courier Mail is calling on all state and territory governments to sign up to a national register of Australia's 20,000 convicted sex offenders. Would you support this move?
BUNDABERG (candidates in ballot order)
David Batt (LNP incumbent)
During my 23 years as a Police Officer, I worked in the Child Protection Unit and had the responsibility of monitoring sex offenders living here in Bundaberg.
Given my experience, I am well versed in this area and am fully supportive of the LNP's commitment to introduce a Child Sex Offender Register to protect our kids because we believe the rights of children, parents and the vulnerable should always come before those of sex offenders.
Our sex offender register would allow parents to discover the identity of child sex offenders living in their neighbourhood and check the background of anyone who has regular unsupervised access to their kids.
The LNP's plan would provide parents with access to three tiers of information on sex offenders:
Missing Offenders' Register - Photos and personal details of offenders who fail to report to police and whose whereabouts are unknown will be published online for public access.
Local Offender Search - Parents will be able to search their suburb and adjacent suburbs to view photographs of child sex offenders living in their community. Importantly, anyone accessing this information will face a penalty of up to 10 years' imprisonment if they harass a listed offender or distribute their photograph or personal details.
Community Protection Disclosure Scheme - Parents or guardians will be able to apply to the police to inquire if a person who has regular, unsupervised contact with their child is a reportable sex offender.
Anyone who uses false information to request a disclosure or misuses information provided by police could face seven years' imprisonment.
Tom Smith (Labor)
Queensland's child sex offender laws are recognised as the toughest in Australia.
They give police and the courts the powers they need to protect the community from child sex offenders.
Dangerous prisoner sex offenders who have been placed under a supervision order have strict monitoring conditions for life.
This means that even after they have been released, offenders are still monitored.
The Palaszczuk Government has provided the Queensland Police Service with extra funding for surveillance and enforcement operations in relation to these offenders.
Because of this tough regime, the Police Commissioner will know where these offenders are and what they are doing.
These tough monitoring arrangements for child sex offenders are in place for the rest of their lives.
When in power, the LNP reduced the reporting period for child sex offenders listed on the child protection offender register, from 15 years to five years.
By weakening this law in 2014, the LNP put thousands of Queensland children at greater risk.
It meant that 1,723 - that is, 1,723 - child sex offenders who were being monitored were then not monitored under the LNP Government.
We need to keep every child safe.
BURNETT (candidates in ballot order)
Ric Glass (independent)
Yes, register sex offenders.
Stephen Bennett (LNP incumbent)
The LNP has always supported the introduction of a national register for child sex offenders.
We must ensure our children are safe from these predators.
An online sex offender registry would keep parents informed and provide them crucial information.
The LNP has a strong record after introducing tough criminal law reforms, including mandatory life imprisonment for repeat child sex offenders, increasing penalties for child exploitation material and mandatory 12 months jail for a sex offender who tampers with their GPS tracking device.
Convicted child sex offenders are the worst of the worst and more needs to be done to empower and enable parents to protect their kids.
Last year the LNP introduced legislation to crackdown on dangerous sex offenders by locking up these monsters and we think a public sex offender register is another tool to give Queensland parents peace-of-mind that their children are safe.
Paul Hudson (Katter's Australian Party)
Yes, absolutely. Predatory perverts have no place in a civilised society.