Thursday 05 June, 2014

Mr TARZIA (Hartley) (17:25): I also speak in support of the bill. As we have heard, in every state and territory of Australia, legislation to some extent similar to this has been enacted which requires people who have been found guilty of certain offences against children to be entered on a register of offenders.

The Child Sex Offenders Registration Act 2006 requires child sex offenders to register with the Commissioner of Police. Under that act, registrable offenders (as defined in the act) are required to make reports to police and they are precluded from undertaking child-related work, and they should be. They should be precluded because, as we all know, these offenders certainly pose a real risk to children. In fact, we do not want them anywhere near our children.

The act was originally designed, I will note, as a kind of monitoring tool and while, under the act, the registrable offender is stopped from engaging in child-related work, there are a few other limitations placed upon them. I will note that these limitations in the circumstances here are certainly quite fair. The bill aims to insert a new part into the act such that SAPOL will be able to apply to the Magistrates Court for a new type of order, called a control order, to be made against any registrable offender. I believe that this is necessary to protect families from potential child sex offenders who reoffend. It is something that the community must work at together to ensure children are protected from such offenders.

Any bill which allows that protection or which facilitates that protection is certainly good. The orders are in addition to the paedophile restraining orders that are currently available under the Summary Procedure Act 1921 where orders can be placed against people who may not have been convicted. The proposed control orders, however, can only be placed on convicted and registrable offenders. Obviously, convicted and registrable offenders have a proven risk and therefore it is more appropriate that these strict measures are in place.

In making the control order, the court must take into account many circumstances—the seriousness of each offence in relation to which the person is a registrable offender, the circumstances of the offender and the impact of the order relative to the risk. The court will be able to make interim control orders, vary or revoke a control order. I will point out that it is important that this flexibility is there as provided for in this bill. I will also say that it is very important that the Magistrates Court can make an order without being satisfied of the matters otherwise required if the police and the registrable offender consent to the making of the order and if it is in the interest of justice to make that order.

I note that a breach of a control order is a criminal offence under the bill with a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment. I believe that five years' imprisonment is a sufficient and appropriate deterrent under the bill. I would also like to allude to the prior words of the member for Unley in highlighting the important role the opposition has played in facilitating and bringing to a head such a bill. I am in favour of this bill.