The question is a simple one.
In this day and age, where CCTV monitors your every public move, shouldn’t you be entitled to know you are living up the road from a convicted child-sex offender?
The Morrison government believes so, even dedicating $7.8 million in its May budget and
So where is it?
Eleven months after announcing it, and seven months after the budget set aside funds for it - and on the 16th anniversary of
The reason that’s the case goes to the heart of why so many voters feel alienated by politics and the daily political promises that routinely amount to nothing.
You see, while the Commonwealth promised the register, the states are not quite as keen. And unless our two biggest levels of government work together, the results are usually less than optimal.
(Example one: health. Example two: the school system. Example three: the road network …)
But back to a national public register of child sex offenders announced by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, at the dawn of 2019.
We heard how it would work, what it would offer, and how it might protect our children. Just not when it would be introduced.
When Daniel’s dad Bruce Morcombe this week read a small news report signalling the hold-up, his frustration boiled over.
“Sixteen years after Daniel’s murder and every state leader remains as weak as piss,’’ he tweeted.
“Collectively you place the rights of paedophiles ahead of kids. I’m angry. Shame on you! Do your job!’’
This man and his wife Denise are national heroes who devote every waking moment to educating our children about the dangers of someone like the weak, repulsive criminal who stole their son’s life.
“It’s not an easy week for the family,’’ Mr Morcombe said yesterday. “It [state responses to the register] was the straw that broke the camel’s back.’’
His frustrated tweet prompted Queensland Attorney-General Yvette D’Ath to call and explain Queensland’s issue with the register.
But to the Morcombes, who already work with the state government to deliver child protection lessons in schools, states can spin their response any way they like. Children continue to be subject to heinous sex crimes, and sentences are not serving as a deterrent.
It could also be readily argued that a few recent cases show loopholes in our state protecting our most vulnerable children.
Mr Morcombe says sex offenders are leaving jail and stalking singles’ advertisements to befriend women, so they can be close to children.
Allowing offenders to blend seamlessly back into communities means children are at risk.
The Morcombes are not wanting a register that allows full addresses of offenders, but they want any parent to be able to access a website to check a name, an alias, the type of offence, and whether they live in their suburb or geographic boundary.
Given it was promised, shouldn’t Mr Dutton be able to deliver it? Or perhaps check it is deliverable before his fanfare announcement?
Sixteen years ago on Saturday, Daniel Morcombe left his home to buy Christmas presents for his family. He never came home.
Daniel could have been your child, or mine.
Bruce and Denise Morcombe simply want to ensure no one else, this Christmas or any other time of year, has to go through the heartbreak they will again this Saturday.