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ACSOL Conference Oct 1, 2022 

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Kat’s Blog: Blimey, Who Does Australia’s Fact Checking?

Peter Dutton, Minister for Home Affairs in Australia wants to be the white knight riding in to save his constituents from “sex offenders” by proposing a National Public Registry.

“Thwarting the exploitation of children is my key priority as Minister for Home Affairs” says Dutton.

Fact #1:  That’s all well and good, except Australia already has state-based registries with various levels of public accessibility in Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.  Even with those state-based registries, there has been a 77% rise in child sex abuse and exploitation of children between 2017 and 2018 in Australia. (Proof that registries don’t work.)

Fact #2: According to the Minister, a national system would stop pedophiles from evading public scrutiny. Pedophilia is a diagnosis Mr. Dutton, not all “sex offenders” suffer from pedophilia. This is basic registry 101.  Educate yourself “before” you make a fool of yourself.  And public scrutiny? Registrants have already completed their sentences? Why should the public scrutinize them at all?  

Fact #3:  A National Registry would list names, photographs, date of birth, aliases, nature of conviction and postal codes.  According to the Minister, “no addresses to avoid vigilante groups or people forming groups outside particular residences”.  21st century sir, a name and the internet is all it takes to find anyone’s address. Listing only a postal code will not deter vigilantes. 

Fact 4#: According to Peter Dutton, “the registry will deter offenders and help parents and families make informed decisions about who supervises their children.”  Has this man not read any statistics?  It’s unfortunate, but child sexual offenses are often committed by a trusted family member or a trusted friend of the family.  Public shaming is not a deterrent, it’s cruel and unusual punishment. Futhermore, statics show that most registrants don’t go on to commit further offenses.

Fact #5: Long-time anti-pedophile campaigner (who knew there was such a title) Derryn Hinch said “people are entitled to know about child “sex offenders” in their area. Why are people “entitled” to know anything about registrants who have already served their sentence? With that kind of reasoning shouldn’t people be entitled to know about the murderers, thieves, forgers, adulterers or spousal abusers living in their area?

Mr. Hinch also states “the register active in the US since 1996 hasn’t encouraged vigilantes.” Mr. Hinch, tell that to the families of those US registrants that have been murdered by vigilantes who located them from info gained from the US public registry.

Perhaps the Minister for Home Affairs in Australia should do some educational reading, hire a fact checker, do something, anything, instead of political grandstanding by suggesting yet another useless registry whose negative ramifications he obviously knows nothing about.

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