Reflect community views
This is what Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party is all about. Or, at least, what has been the driving force for the foundation of the party to which Derryn Hinch attached his name and reputation.
Over the past five years, Hinch has collected 170,000 signatures calling for a national public register of convicted sex offenders. Similar to a public register, known as Megan's Law, which has been in existence in the USA for more than 20 years.
Derryn has met with Maureen Kanka, mother of Megan, the little American girl, murdered by a convicted sex offender, anonymously living next door in supposedly idyllic Hamilton, New Jersey.
Flanked by Bruce and Denise Morcombe, Senator Hinch re-launched his petition in 2017 for legislation he wants to be known as Daniel’s Law, after their son who was abducted and murdered by a convicted paedophile who should not have been on the streets without the public’s knowledge.
If Daniel’s killer’s name and details had been on a register, after the abduction and assault of a little boy outside a Darwin caravan park, maybe Daniel would be alive today.
In Australia, we do have a register, but it is private and managed by a select group of senior police. Not everyone who is convicted of such offences makes it on to the register. (It is at the discretion of the judge or magistrate presiding over each case.) It is not backdated to include people convicted of sexual offences prior to the register being introduced.
The Justice Party welcomes the government’s recent proposal to make this national child-sex offender register public. This announcement follows extensive lobbying efforts undertaken by Hinch in the senate and with key government ministers since 2015. In 2018, the Justice Party worked closely with Home Affair’s Minister Peter Dutton’s office in formulating potential models for what a national offender system could look like. The Justice Party is committed to a register that:
- Is publicly available in the form of a website and app;
- Includes an offender’s name, photograph, address, crime and the year of their offence;
- Retains judicial discretion so that incidents of ‘sexting’ by persons under the age of 18, which technically fall under sex offences, would not be captured by the register;
- Has stringent penalties for vigilantism and misuse of information on the register, as is the case in Western Australia.
At the time of this announcement, Hinch wrote:
“Now I can die happy. Peter Dutton has announced government support for my national public register of convicted paedophiles. It’s why I formed the Justice Party. Why I got into politics.”
The Justice Party is calling on federal, state and territory governments to legislate for a public sex offenders register as a matter of priority in 2019. We want a public register because sexual predators rely on anonymity. It is one of their most powerful weapons -- especially against children. In many child abuse cases, the child victim is told 'this is a secret'.
Sexual offences often result in suppression orders unlike other violent crimes. These suppression orders are often introduced under the guise of 'it's to protect the victim' but, in fact, it is aimed at protecting the identity of the offender.
When sexual assault victims do come forward -- and suffer reliving the ordeal under the glare of our court system -- they do it not just for justice for themselves. They don't want the person who attacked them to be able to do it again to someone else. If the community is not allowed to know who the offender is, that objective fails.
More information about Derryn’s work for Daniel’s Law can be on the Justice Party Facebook page here.