Community Protection (Offender Reporting) Amendment Bill No. 48 of 2016
Mrs Armitage (Launceston) - Mr President, I support the bill as well. Before I say too much, I will clear up a matter. For the benefit of the member for Windermere I will read the second sentence of a letter from the Law Society. I believe the member for Mersey read it, but I will read it again.
Mr Dean - It has been read in.
Mrs Armitage - I know, but just so you actually hear this part. You seem to be a little bit confused.
In late 2015, the Department of Police and Emergency Management provided a list of possible amendments to the act. In the accompanying letter, the department stated that it was important to note that the recommendations were not Government policy and they may, as part of the development process, be modified or removed.
Almost 12 months later, a bill has been introduced to Parliament. There has been no consultation with the society with respect to the bill.
That is where they were coming at with their comments - that they had not had consultation.
Mr Dean - They knew the bill was there.
Mrs Armitage - But apart from that, I will just clear that up on behalf of the member for Mersey as he had already spoken.
Mr Gaffney - Thank you.
Mrs Armitage - That is alright.
I support the bill. I believe that child protection is one of the most important things we can do. To protect children from predators of this nature is essential because people who are predators do not look like predators and we are not aware of who they are in the community.
I take on board though the comments we had this morning from Mr Crotty. It is important to make sure that legislation protects the innocent, or people who may have offended in the past and may not be offending in the future. We certainly need to be careful that we do not create a situation where someone may have erred previously but that no longer is the case, and because of community belief, all of a sudden people believe that person is a pariah. That is a frightening situation.
I believe most things have been covered so I will not go on overly here.
In looking at some of the new sections, it is important that some of the additions are made because some areas have changed - now there is Facebook. There are so many different areas that have changed and need to be in the current act that may not be there already. We heard this morning from Sergeant Jayson Taws that the list they have now needs to be extended because things change and we need to move with the times and we need to keep up to date. The police need to keep up to date too and they need to have as many tools at their disposal as they can because they are the people we rely on to keep us safe and to keep our children safe. As the member for Windermere said, there is nothing more important than keeping our children safe, so I support the bill before us.
On the question of whether they can go into a home without a warrant to check facts, they do it now, they do it with the Firearms Act. I do not believe they need a warrant for the Firearms Act to turn up to someone's house and check that the guns have been properly stored. My understanding is that they can just turn up. The Family Violence Act is the same. It is not as if it is unprecedented, they can already do it.
Mrs Hiscutt - To clear that up - with the Firearms Act, there has to be a mutually agreed time. It is slightly different to this one.
Mrs Armitage - Thank you. That is one of the difficult parts. If you make someone aware you are coming, then anything that might be found could be hidden. It is important that they turn up unannounced. Whether they need a warrant, I am sure that most times a warrant would be given to the police on evidence if the police could convince, whether it be a justice or a magistrate, that it is necessary. They would have the evidence before them. There would be very few times that they would not be able to get a warrant. It possibly makes it a little easier for them and we want to make it as simple as we can for the police to protect our most vulnerable, and that is what it comes down to, protecting vulnerable people.
I am pleased to see in 23B that the commissioner may vary or suspend one or more of a young reportable offenders. You might have a 17-year-old having consensual sex with a 13-year-old, which would classify under one of the classes. While it is carnal knowledge, it is not the same type of crime as someone of more senior years with a younger person. I am pleased to see that a commissioner can vary or suspend it in the case that was given this morning. If someone was participating in sport they could suspend reporting for a period of time.
There are quite a few changes in the act. Most of them I do not have any problems with. I understand that the honourable member for Mersey has amendments. It is appropriate we have the opportunity to listen to the amendments. I am not sure if this bill is time sensitive and whether a couple of weeks would make a great deal of difference. There was to be an adjournment for the honourable member for Mersey. If something is time sensitive you have to consider whether you allow for an adjournment. If two weeks allows someone to put amendments up, whether they are passed or not is another matter but at least it gives them the opportunity to get it right. I will consider the adjournment.
I appreciate the briefings this morning and the length of time that was given. I thank the honourable Leader and Tasmania Police for coming along and giving their time. It was good to have as much time as members needed to discuss the bill.
I support the bill.