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Daniel Morcombe's dad slams 'un-Australian' MPs who voted down national paedophile register

The family of murdered schoolboy Daniel Morcombe have renewed their calls for a public registry detailing the names and locations of convicted child sex offenders in Australia.

The federal government announced before the 2019 election it was putting aside $7.8million towards the register which would make publicly accessible the name, general location and crimes of paedophiles across the country.

Western Australian authorities have an online service giving its residents access to information on high-risk child sex predators but most states and territories have remained silent on the proposal.

Last month, a motion to set up a ‘register to help parents protect their kids from serious sexual offenders’ was voted down in Queensland parliament 49 votes to 42. 

Bruce Morcombe – whose 13-year-old son was abducted in 2003 and murdered by known sex offender Brett Peter Cowan – accused states and territories not co-operating with the planned database of putting their ‘collective heads in the sand’.








‘If knowledge is power, a public register of sex offenders will empower Australian families to help keep their children safe from predators,’ he wrote for the Sunshine Coast Daily.

‘But not all States and Territories are co-operating to get the register up and running. 

‘Frankly, I’m very disappointed. Putting your collective heads in the sand and hoping it goes away is un-Australian. We can do better.’

Mr Morcombe has spent six years campaigning for the register to be put in place in Australia – with the proposal described by The Daniel Morcombe Foundation as ‘Daniel’s Law’.

‘The most people at risk are single parents looking for a new relationship,’ he told 7News.

‘They have no opportunity to check their past history.’   

Brett Peter Cowan had already been convicted of sex crimes when he kidnapped, raped and murdered Daniel Morcombe in 2003.

Predator Michael Guider was released from prison last year. He murdered Sydney schoolgirl Samantha Knight in 1986

Brett Peter Cowan (left) had already been convicted of sex crimes when he kidnapped, raped and murdered Daniel Morcombe in 2003. On right is predator Michael Guider upon his release from prison last year. He murdered Sydney schoolgirl Samantha Knight in 1986

A Daily Mail Australia mock-up of how an online national child sex offender could look. Above are some of the most well known offenders in Australia - including Daniel Morcombe's killer Brett Cowan, notorious sex pest Michael Guider, Hey Dad!'s Robert Hughes, predator Robert Fardon and jailed 'Evil 8' rapist Ryan Clegg

A Daily Mail Australia mock-up of how an online national child sex offender could look. Above are some of the most well known offenders in Australia – including Daniel Morcombe’s killer Brett Cowan, notorious sex pest Michael Guider, Hey Dad!’s Robert Hughes, predator Robert Fardon and jailed ‘Evil 8’ rapist Ryan Clegg

Cowan was twice convicted of sex crimes before abducting Daniel from a bus stop. 

Mr Morcombe has previously said had a scheme existed at the time of Cowan’s offending, his pregnant partner would’ve been able to look into his background too.

The foundation has proposed sex offenders remain on the list for at least 10 years and would only see repeat or recidivist offenders, or people who have committed hideous crimes, named and shamed. 

Queensland Premier Annastasia Palasczcuk’s government recently voted down a motion supporting such a register, in a move Mr Dutton’s spokeswoman slammed as ‘very frustrating’.  

Bruce Morcombe and his wife Denise (pictured) launched the Daniel Morcombe foundation in 2005 to educate and protect children and young people from abuse after their son was murdered

Bruce Morcombe and his wife Denise (pictured) launched the Daniel Morcombe foundation in 2005 to educate and protect children and young people from abuse after their son was murdered

Queensland’s Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington introduced a motion on August 12 calling on Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government to set up a ‘register to help parents protect their kids from serious sexual offenders’ earlier this month. 

Ms Frecklington’s motion was defeated 49 votes to 42. 

‘The national register only works if all the states and territories sign up, as it relies on the sharing of their data,’ a Department of Home Affairs spokesman told Daily Mail Australia.  

‘The Palaszczuk Government recently voted against a register which is very frustrating.

This is how simple to use California's child sex offender register is: Users can search a person's name and up comes their name, headshot, physical information and even address

This is how simple to use California’s child sex offender register is: Users can search a person’s name and up comes their name, headshot, physical information and even address

‘Nonetheless we will continue to work with them as the Coalition believes a nationally consistent approach is needed to ensure offenders cannot exploit jurisdictional differences.’

Labor MP Scott Stewart rubbished the idea, telling parliament the Australian Institute of Criminology had found ‘public sex offender registers do not reduce recidivism.’ 

‘This government will always listen to and support the experts — unlike those opposite,’ he said, crowing that his government already had the ‘toughest’ regime for sex offenders. 

Former police officer and LNP MP Dan Purdie said: ‘The system is broken and that is why the LNP government will introduce a public child sex offender register, giving every parent an effective tool to protect their children from paedophiles.’ 

But Ms Frecklington’s motion had little chance of getting across the line in the first place as it was tied to the ALP supporting a list of a more than a dozen unrelated Liberal National Party priorities.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's government shot down the motion supporting a public child sex offender register

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government shot down the motion supporting a public child sex offender register

That included voting to ‘stop Labor’s wasteful spending’. 

Daniel Morcombe was abducted from a bus stop when he was 13-year-old and murderer

Daniel Morcombe was abducted from a bus stop when he was 13-year-old and murderer

Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath said there were ‘mixed views about the merits of a public child sex offender register’ and genuine concerns that any introduction on a national level could have unintended consequences.

‘This includes that an increased risk of re-offending due to the likelihood that offenders would be driven underground.’

Ms D’Ath said there are 15 offenders listed missing by Western Australia’s online register of high risk sex offenders.

She added that former police commissioner Ian Stewart last year wrote to Mr Dutton expressing concerns about such a national register.

Support from the states or territories for the proposal is critical for a public register getting up, Mr Dutton’s spokeswoman said.

‘The Palaszczuk Government recently voted against a register which is very frustrating. 

‘The national register only works if all the states and territories sign up, as it relies on the sharing of their data.’ 

DANIEL’S LAW: WHAT THE MORCOMBE FAMILY WANT

Under the Daniel Morcombe Foundation’s plan, a child sex offenders register would contain the following information:

  • Offender’s name, alias and nickname
  • Geographical area of an offender’s principal place of residence
  • Ability to statistically search and area for an area for residing offenders
  • Detail the general nature of the offending against children
  • A current photo and identifying features namely tattoos, unique posture, unusual gait or stance, hair colour, ethnicity and gender

The register would NOT capture information that could assist in the identification of young victims of crime or include offenders aged under 18 years of age

Accompanying the register would be strengthened vigilante laws to protect the physical wellbeing and safety of those listed on the register

Source: Morcombe Foundation Opinion Paper

 

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