CRIMES AMENDMENT (PROTECTION OF CHILDREN) BILL 2014
Written on the 29 May 2014
Second reading. Debate resumed.
Ms HARTLAND (Western Metropolitan) -- I rise to speak on behalf of the Greens on the Crimes Amendment (Protection of Children) Bill 2014.
Mr EIDEH (Western Metropolitan) -- I rise to make a contribution to the debate on the Crimes Amendment (Protection of Children) Bill 2014, a bill which takes an extremely important step towards protecting those who are most vulnerable in our state. It is our duty as elected representatives in this Parliament to ensure that we take the lead in ridding our communities of abhorrent child abuse. That is why I was happy to speak on the Crimes Amendment (Grooming) Bill 2013 and why I am happy to speak on this legislation. In my opinion, these are very positive steps towards protecting children against abuse. I thank my parliamentary colleagues in the Assembly for their contributions to the debate on the bill and for expressing their views about clause 4.
Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- I am very pleased to rise and speak in the debate on the Crimes Amendment (Protection of Children) Bill 2014.
Mrs COOTE (Southern Metropolitan) -- It is very rare in this place that all parties make a profound difference to a piece of legislation; that they speak on it with compassion and understanding, recognising and respecting the differences in opinion. That is the debate we are having here today.
Mr D. D. O'BRIEN (Eastern Victoria) -- I rise to make a very brief contribution to the debate on this bill. I endorse wholeheartedly the comments made by Mrs Coote in her very good contribution to this debate, and in many ways I endorse her comments about Ms Mikakos and Ms Hartland and all our colleagues in the other place. The protection of children is one of the fundamental reasons we exist as legislators. If our society cannot protect its most vulnerable residents -- that is, children -- then we are in a difficult place. I strongly support this bill.
The ACTING PRESIDENT (Mr Elasmar) -- Order! My understanding is that Ms Mikakos is proposing a number of amendments to the bill. They all relate to the proposed omission of clause 4, concerning a new offence of failure to disclose a sexual offence committed against a child under the age of 16. Ms Mikakos has proposed minor consequential amendments to earlier clauses. I understand that Ms Mikakos is seeking to postpone consideration of clauses 1 to 3 to enable her to speak to her substantial amendment 6 to clause 4. Clauses 1 to 3 postponed.
Ms MIKAKOS (Northern Metropolitan) -- The amendment is straightforward; it simply seeks to omit clause 4 from the bill. All the other amendments are consequential to this.
Ms HARTLAND (Western Metropolitan) -- The Greens will be supporting Ms Mikakos.
Let me read out the section:
Hon. E. J. O'DONOHUE (Minister for Liquor and Gaming Regulation) -- I was not in the briefing provided by the department, but I presume that the advice Ms Hartland was provided with detailed that the legislation that is before the house today does not change section 127 of the Evidence Act and that the general rule, as articulated and as I stated before, has a carve out in subsection (2) where the privilege relating to religious confessions does not apply if the communication involved in the religious confession was made for a criminal purpose. Without going into specific examples, because they are hypothetical, each case will turn on its own facts. If the confession were made for a criminal purpose, then that exemption articulated in section 127(1) of the Evidence Act may not apply.
Committee divided on clause:
Pairs: Drum, ALP Vacancy. Kronberg, Viney.
Clause agreed to.