LNP Opposition leader Deb Frecklington has pledged Queensland will make it easier to bring online paedophiles to justice by increasing prosecuting powers based on South Australia’s Carly’s Law.
Carly’s Law was introduced after 15-year-old Carly Ryan was raped and murdered by a 50-year-old paedophile who had posed online as a teenage student in 2007.
The change made it a crime in SA to plan to harm a child under 16 and targeting predators who lied about their age.
Carly’s Law-styled increased powers comes after frustration among police over the difficulty of prosecuting offenders caught in the early stages of online grooming, Frecklington says.
The LNP proposes to make it an offence for an adult to communicate with a child while claiming to be younger than they are, or another person altogether, to meet with a child.
It will also be an offence for an adult to communicate with a child while claiming to be younger than they are, or another person altogether, with intent to commit an offence against the child.
“There’ll be no hiding place for vile online predators under a government I lead,” Frecklington said.
“These laws will ensure police have the tools they need to protect kids from online predators.”
Opposition shadow attorney-general David Janetzki said Queensland’s version of Carly’s Law would “plug” gaps within the state’s own laws.
“In Queensland, there are grooming offences, however, for those offences to be applied there must be an intent to commit a sexual attack,” he said.
“These laws do not require intent.”
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk there needs to be “absolute firm action” to protect children from sexual exploitation and they have implemented laws which are monitored by police.
By Darren Cartwright