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Tuesday, 20 June 2017
Page: 4403


Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (18:41): Can I indicate that I make these remarks in the spirit of this debate, where there is enormous goodwill in the chamber to pass an important piece of legislation necessary to protect children. I commend unreservedly the work of Senator Hinch in relation to this. I also commend the way in which the government has acted and the spirit in which the opposition and my crossbench colleagues have dealt with this.

In relation to this specific amendment from Senator Kakoschke-Moore, this is something that was raised by the International Justice Mission Australia. It is something that has long been advocated by them in terms of reform, that the act of cybersex trafficking falls within the definition of trafficking under the protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking of persons, especially women and children, to which Australia is a party. They have said—and I think they have been saying this for quite some time—that section 270 of the Commonwealth Criminal Code needs to be updated to include cybersex trafficking and the application to child victims. Given the harrowing example given by my colleague Senator Kakoschke-Moore, the enormous sympathy that the government has for this particular amendment, the fact that the International Justice Mission of Australia—among others—have said we need to sort this out and that we have been a party to this protocol for some time, my question to the government is—and, again, I say this with absolute goodwill and in the spirit in which this legislation is being dealt with by the chamber—can the minister indicate whether the government is broadly supportive of and committed to changing the law to cover the sorts of circumstances dealt with in this amendment by the end of this year?