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Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Page: 6470


Mr McCLELLAND (Attorney-General) (6:28 PM) —The honourable member raises a significant issue. I think this is an area that requires examination among federal and state government agencies. The constitutional issues that the honourable member has referred to are clearly something that would need to be considered and addressed. I suppose there may be scope under the Convention on the Rights of the Child for the potential for federal legislation in this area; it may be that otherwise it would require a reference of state powers. At the outset I think that, rather than going down into those technicalities, it is appropriate to review the penalties in this area. I think having the judiciary enforce appropriate penalties requires a demonstration by legislatures around the country of the seriousness of these offences. I think we also need to look at some inconsistencies where failure to cooperate with police or enable access to computer memories is less of a penalty than would otherwise be the case should the crime be detected.

I think these are also inconsistencies that need to be reviewed in the area. In summary, the honourable member, with respect, raises a significant and legitimate issue and one that the federal government is giving consideration to.