Today the Coalition Government announced it will introduce tough new laws which will prevent registered child sex offenders from travelling overseas.
New legislation will make Australia a world leader in protecting vulnerable children from child sex tourism by prohibiting registered child sex offenders from leaving Australia or holding Australian passports.
There is an estimated 20,000 registered child sex offenders in Australia; those who have served their sentences but are subject to supervision and reporting obligations due to their ongoing risk to our community.
With almost 800 registered child sex offenders travelling overseas in 2016, and more than one third doing so without permission, it was clear the existing passport legislation was not working.
The new legislation will impose higher standards than existing rules, putting a stop to child sex offenders travelling to vulnerable countries where they are out of sight and reach of Australian law.
The legislation delivers on a commitment made on 11 November 2016 by the Foreign Minister and the Minister for Justice to protect children, whether in Australia or overseas.
We acknowledge the close and long-held interest Victorian Senator Derryn Hinch has in developing these reforms.
The Coalition Government will continue to work with States and Territory law enforcement agencies to implement these measures and to bring offenders to justice.
Joint media release
- Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Hon Julie Bishop MP
- Minister for Justice, the Hon Michael Keenan MP