The Northern Territory will launch the first public sex offender register in Australia with a law named in honour of murdered teenager Daniel Morcombe.
The Northern Territory is set to become the first jurisdiction in Australia to introduce a public sex offender register, to be named after murdered Queensland teenager Daniel Morcombe.
Attorney-General John Elferink said the legislation, to be called Daniel’s Law, would soon be introduced, paving the way for a publicly accessible website featuring details and locations of convicted serious sex offenders.
The plan has been welcomed by the Morcombes.
Daniel, 13, was murdered in 2003 by a man with a long history of abusing children.
The website would include an image, physical description and regional whereabouts of convicted “serious sex offenders” in the Territory, Mr Elferink said on Wednesday.
He said police would continue to track and monitor about 200 sex offenders in the community, but the online register would deliver information about the most serious offenders.
The definition of “serious sex offender” in terms of Daniel’s Law is yet to be finalised.
“We believe that the public’s right to know takes precedence over the privacy concerns of serious sex offenders,” Mr Elferink said.
Daniel’s Law is based on a similar legislation in the United States, called Megan’s Law, but unlike the American legislation will not give the exact address of an offender.
Daniel’s parents, Bruce and Denise Morcombe, were in Darwin for the announcement.
It comes after a decade of their calling for a national sex offender register, a proposal recently rejected by other states and territories at a Council of Australian Governments meeting.
“Every parent has the right to know if there is a dangerous sex offender living in their neighbourhood,” they said in a statement.
“We truly hope that the introduction of Daniel’s Law will prevent another family going through the pain and grief we experienced following Daniel’s death.”
Daniel was last seen waiting at a bus stop on the Sunshine Coast when he was abducted and later murdered by serial child sex offender Brett Peter Cowan.
It was another eight years before his remains were found.
The crime sparked an outpouring of grief across the nation, and saw the Morcombes commit their lives to educating children about personal safety.
Cowan was found guilty of murder, indecent dealing with a child and interfering with a corpse. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non parole period of 20 years, but is appealing his conviction.
Federal coalition MP George Christensen urged the Abbott government to roll out the register nationally, saying sex offenders gave up their right to privacy by committing the “most heinous of crimes”.
“Parents have a right to know where these serious sex offenders are and what they look like so they can protect their children,” the Liberal National MP said.
“We owe it to the Morcombes and to all parents to do whatever we can to avoid the same thing happening again.”