The Queensland premier says he’s open to the idea of a public register for sex offenders and the government is looking at how it’s working in WA.
Premier Campbell Newman says he is open to the idea of a public sex offender register in Queensland.
The government is looking at the West Australian model after a plea from the parents of Queensland schoolboy Daniel Morcombe, who was abducted and murdered by serial child sex offender Brett Peter Cowan.
Mr Newman noted that Hetty Johnston, who leads the child protection group Bravehearts, has reservations, including fears it could push pedophiles underground.
“Nevertheless, we will have a look at it. I’ve got an open mind,” the premier told reporters on Wednesday.
“I’ll say this: we’ve already put in place tough laws to deal with sex offenders and pedophiles.
“We’ve already acted. If the sickening crimes of Mr Cowan had been committed with these laws in place, arguably he would have never got to commit the terrible offence which has seen the Morcombe family lose their son.”
Cowan, 44, was sentenced last week to life in prison with a non-parole period of 20 years for the December 2003 abduction, murder and indecent treatment of Daniel.
He had prior convictions for separate sexual attacks on two boys aged six and seven.
Broadcaster Derryn Hinch is pushing for a national register so Australians can be aware of threats in their communities.
Mr Hinch says it’s time for Australia to follow the United States, and share the addresses and images of convicted sex offenders with the public.
He is working with the former head of the National Crime Authority, Peter Faris QC, on a draft plan for a register.
It will be presented to state and federal attorneys-general in coming weeks.