Sex offenders register 'in the mix' for Queensland
A REGISTER naming convicted sex offenders is in "the mix" as Queensland reviews new legislation overturned in the state's courts.
Media personality, and outspoken advocate for a sex offender registry, Derryn Hinch said Queensland Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie's attitude to the register was encouraging.
Hinch said Mr Bleijie was far more receptive to the idea than Attorney-Generals in other states.
Hinch, who even went to jail for the cause after naming serial child sex offenders during a public rally, is trying to pitch the registry to all Attorneys-General across Australia in his mission advocating law changes.
He has a petition with more than 150,000 signatures supporting the register proposal.
"He did say that because of some of the setbacks the government's had in court that they have put all the legislation back on the table to have a look at," Hinch said as walked out of a meeting in Brisbane.
"The idea of a public register goes into the mix.
"He certainly didn't rule it out.
"I would have to say I'm now two Attorneys-General down.
"I didn't get a good reaction in Tasmania, but Victoria I got a good hearing.
"Here, this government promises to make this state the safest place for families in Australia - I think right now (there's) a long way to go but (it's) better than most states.
"I'm just thrilled it is in the mix, that it's out there, not rejected."
Hinch said the biggest argument he put forward was "common sense".
He said the United States had registries for almost two decades.
Hinch shot down the argument that most sexual predators were not strangers and that naming them could potentially identify victims.
He also said he disagreed with Bravehearts founder Hetty Johnston who objects to the register - believing heavier jail sentences was more effective and that offenders would just go underground if named.
"I've known Hetty for probably 20 years and I've had awards from Bravehearts, I'm a Bravehearts ambassador but we don't agree," he said.
"I agree with part of what she says wholeheartedly, that part of this problem would be solved if magistrates and judges kept recidivist sex offenders in jail longer.
"I think a public register is needed, it is vital, because sex offenders especially ones involving children, their biggest weapon is secrecy and anonymity and until we've got a public register you don't know who they are or where they are.
"When you have Dennis Ferguson run out of town by a vigilante, who should be charged for vigilantism, he might be run out of town.
"The joke is there might have been 10 other sex offenders living in that neighbourhood that you can't know about because it's secret.
"When you put something on a public register all you are saying is that this man (name) lives at such and such address, this is what he looks like, this is the crime he committed.
"You don't say it's his daughter or his son or his nephew or niece. The facts of this don't come into it. The people who need to know (already) know."
Hinch said his next step was to try for a meeting with Federal Attorney-General George Brandis in Canberra, and with other states and territories.
He said he also planned to head to Tasmania to explain to them why they were wrong.
Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, in a statement released Tuesday afternoon, said his government's two-strike policy and other sex offender reforms meant Queensland had some of the strongest child sex offender legislation in the country.
"On top of our already extensive reforms, we are reviewing Queensland's dangerous sex offender legislation and consultation with a range of groups and individuals is part of that," he said.