Tough laws in frame as pedophiles walk free


ALMOST one in three convicted pedophiles are not spending a day in a jail, prompting the Federal Government to revive new laws that will force all child sex offenders to be imprisoned.

Attorney-General Christian Porter will today announce the Government will reintroduce draft laws imposing mandatory sentences for Commonwealth child sex offences, which were voted down in 2017 by Labor under Bill Shorten's leadership.

It comes as new details are revealed about AUSTRAC's success with partnering with the private sector to identify Australians paying for abhorrent child sex abuse images.

Since the Fintel Alliance started in March 2017, there has been 580 per cent increase in reports to AUSTRAC identifying suspicious activity potentially related to child exploitation.

It has led to more than 40 referrals to law enforcement and resulted in the arrest of previously unknown offenders.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton told The Courier-Mail he would use every means legally possible to find child predators.

"Many companies in the tech sector have stood up and said no but others need to follow,'' Mr Dutton said.

"Children are being abused on line and companies need to have a zero tolerance and not allow their platforms to facilitate abuse of children."

Mr Porter said the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Crimes Against Children and Community Protection Bill, voted down by Labor in the previous parliament was necessary.

"It simply beggars belief that nearly a third of all child sex offenders who were sentenced last year were not required to spend a single day behind bars, despite the devastating and lifelong impacts that their crimes have on their young victims and their families," Mr Porter said.

"And when jail terms were handed out, the average length of time that offenders spent in custody was just 18 months.

Labor's then justice spokeswoman Clare O'Neil in 2017 argued the new laws would not make Australian children safer.

"Mandatory minimums let guilty people off the hook because juries are less likely to convict them when they know there is no discretion about the sentence,'' Ms O'Neill said.


* Financial profiling by the Fintel Alliance and the Border Intelligence Fusion Centre Threat Discovery team resulted in the identification and arrest of a 47-year-old Queensland man returning to Australia in possession of child exploitation material.

* The Queensland man was identified through suspicious financial transactions consistent with the purchase of child exploitation material. The man had sent over 1,000 transactions totalling over $11,000 to 70 different recipients in South-East Asia.

* Based on the financial analysis, the Queensland man was placed on alert and intercepted at the border when returning to Australia from Europe. In his possession were electronic devices containing child exploitation material.

* The Queensland man was arrested and is currently awaiting prosecution.


* Following increased intelligence reporting of suspicious money movements from members of the financial industry, AUSTRAC referred a Queensland man to law enforcement partners for investigation.

* The Queensland man was identified as a teacher who had previously worked in the Australian community and overseas.

* The referral identified activity consistent with the purchase of live distance child abuse, triggering a joint investigation with the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Queensland Police Service and AUSTRAC.

* Financial analysis revealed regular payments of small amounts to watch the alleged abuse of children in another country. The Queensland man took steps to hide his online offending including the use of different money remitters to send payments.

* AUSTRAC provided a comprehensive report with detailed analysis of the Australian-based entities, financial activities and the connections between the sender and receiver of the money transfers.

* This information enabled the investigation to better target specific persons of interest and identify the suspected victims.

* In April 2018, a 74 year-old man was arrested and charged with Procuring a Child to Engage in Sexual Activity Outside Australia, and Possessing Child Exploitation Material.

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