Detailed information about convicted paedophiles, such as Cardinal George Pell, will soon be made available in a national child sex offender register. Picture: AP
Detailed information about convicted paedophiles, such as Cardinal George Pell, will soon be made available in a national child sex offender register. Picture: AP

'Name and shame' child sex offender list to be made public

AUSTRALIANS will soon have access to a wealth of information about convicted paedophiles across the country after the Federal Budget allocated $7.8 million for a "name and shame" list.

The Budget 2019-2020 provides $7.8 million to establish a National Public Register of Child Sex Offenders, an initiative the government hopes will provide a "nationally consistent approach to the public release of information about child sex offenders".

The register will allow Australians to see names, aliases and photographs of thousands of paedophiles, as well as their date of birth, physical description and the "general location and nature" of their crimes.

The Federal Budget handed down on Tuesday includes $7.8 million for a National Public Register of Child Sex Offenders. Picture: Getty Images
The Federal Budget handed down on Tuesday includes $7.8 million for a National Public Register of Child Sex Offenders. Picture: Getty Images

 

The public database will be managed by the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, with police agencies from each state contributing information.

"Protection of our most vulnerable - our children - remains one of the highest priorities of the Morrison government," Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said in a statement.

Mr Dutton announced a proposal for the National Public Register of Child Sex Offenders in January, saying it would be based on the model introduced in the United State in the 1990s, although unlike in the US, the Australian version won't include the address of offenders, just the suburb they live in.

 

Robert Andrew Fiddes Ellis is escorted from his holding cell to a police car. Picture: Nashyo Hansel
Robert Andrew Fiddes Ellis is escorted from his holding cell to a police car. Picture: Nashyo Hansel

 

Bruce and Denise Morcombe have been ardent supporters of a child sex offender register. Picture: Peter Wallis
Bruce and Denise Morcombe have been ardent supporters of a child sex offender register. Picture: Peter Wallis

 

Following Mr Dutton's January announcement, the Law Council of Australia president Arthur Moses said in a statement a mandatory child sex offender registry posed issues, including the possibility of citizens using the data to carry out vigilante justice.

"Inclusion brings onerous reporting obligations like ongoing police monitoring of and involvement in a person's activities, the risk of adverse community attention and vigilantism," he said.

"Sentencing courts should be granted a discretion to take into account the individual circumstances of the offence and offender in determining whether an eligible person should be required to register and report."

Ardent supporters of a national child sex offender register include Bruce and Denise Morcombe, the parents of Sunshine Coast teenager Daniel Morcombe who was abducted and murdered in 2003 by convicted paedophile Brett Peter Cowan.