Outrage as Labor lets off child sex fiends in new bill
Labor has been accused of helping paedophiles avoid jail time by using a technical vote to strip mandatory sentencing from tough new child abuse laws proposed by the federal government.
Attorney-General Christian Porter last night slammed the Opposition for using a "procedural tactic" backed by the Greens, Centre Alliance and Jacqui Lambie to vote down mandatory minimum sentences of between five and seven years jail for the worst child sex crimes.
"Given that last year, 39 per cent of convicted Commonwealth child sex offenders did not spend a single day in jail, it is extremely disappointing that … Labor used procedural tactics to vote against mandatory minimum sentences," he said.
The move has been condemned by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, who accused Labor of backing "paedophiles over Australian kids".
"It is one of the worst acts I have seen in my 20 years in parliament," Mr Dutton said. "Anthony Albanese needs to look parents in the eye and explain his betrayal of them. Labor has backed paedophiles over Australian kids."
The vote followed revelations on the same day that disgraced former NSW Labor minister and convicted paedophile Milton Orkopoulos had been charged with 15 more child sex offences.
The pervert pollie was arrested yesterday morning at Silverwater jail after an extensive investigation under Strike Force Glenwarrie, which was set up in January to investigate allegations of historic sexual and indecent assault offences against juveniles in the 1990s.
Police will allege Orkopoulos sexually assaulted two boys who were known to him on separate occasions in the 1990s, at Lake Macquarie and on the mid north coast.
The former Swansea MP spent 11 years in jail after being convicted on a slew of charges in 2008, including having sex with a male between 10-18, possessing child pornography and indecent assault.
Orkopoulos was released on parole in 2019, but was returned to jail after breaking his parole conditions on two occasions.
During Senate debate on the child sex offenders bill, Labor put up a procedural motion to retain the schedule outlining mandatory minimum sentences, and then voted against their own proposal with some crossbench support.
The resulting 31 to 31 tie, which included One Nation supporting the federal government to retain minimum sentences, meant the schedule did not pass and was cancelled from the bill.
Mr Porter said the government remained "totally committed" to the reform and would return the bill to the Senate.
Under the bill, repeat child sex offenders would face minimum terms of one to four years behind bars. A new maximum life penalty for the most serious federal offences and a presumption against bail were also included in the legislation.
Labor frontbencher Murray Watt said mandatory sentencing made it harder to catch, prosecute and convict criminals.
"Mandatory sentencing is wrong in principle, does nothing to reduce or deter crime and worst of all it has adverse consequences," he told parliament.
The bill will return to the lower house for final approval.