Hinch Says

A Major Step

Hervey Bay. Spreading the word Photo Courtesy of: Jeanette Maynes

IT’S OFFICIAL! OUR PETITION (all eleven volumes) was officially presented to the Victorian Parliament last night.

I said yesterday that this is only the beginning and that getting all the attorneys-general in agreement would be like ‘herding cats’. That’s why we must now keep spreading the word   and building the petition numbers through social media.

The document we carried to the steps of Parliament House had 127,000 signatures on it. The number on the petition is now 131,500. It’s been assisted by groups  like the people of Hervey Bay in Queensland (pictured) who turned their Enzo’s to the Pier event last weekend into a Jail 2 Justice walk.

I’m keen to hear ideas on what we can do next. Personally, I’ll be targeting the legal eagles  and politicians (state, territory and federal) and I’m open to suggestions.

I know this has to be embraced by all governments to succeed but I am encouraged by the way it all started in the United States – and the speed with which a public register was  enacted -- after the tragic rape and murder of seven-year-old Megan Kanka in the picture postcard small town of Hamilton, New Jersey in July, 1994.

'Megan Kanka would
be alive today’

Even in her grief (or maybe because of it)  Megan’s mum, Maureen, got angry over the fact that a repeat sex offender had lived across the street from them, with  two other predators, and the neighbours weren’t allowed to know. She went to her local politician and within a month  the New Jersey General Assembly passed a series of bills ordering sex offender registration with a database tracked by the state, community notification of registered sex offenders moving into a neighbourhood and life in prison for repeat sex offenders.

Paul Kramer, the politician who listened to Megan’s anguished mother, was surprised his bills created controversy. He said: ‘Megan Kanka would be alive today’ if the bills he proposed had been law. That was only in New Jersey. In Washington, Congress then passed a national  bill  and President Bill Clinton signed it in law in 1996. He invited Megan’s parents  to the White House for the historic occasion

I don’t expect such speed in Australia. I can dream. Last night was a tangible start. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier, Craig Onarchie, was the man you saw on TV being loaded up by me with volume after volume of our petition.

Last night, during the Adjournment Debate, He had this to say:

‘My adjournment matter tonight is for the Premier.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting with Derryn Hinch to receive a petition calling on all Australian governments to collaborate on a national public sex offenders’ register. I congratulate Mr Hinch on his Jail 2 Justice walk and note that nearly 130 000 people signed the petition. I have volumes 1 through to 11 of the petition here with me, from page 1 to page 8842.

stories of loss and
grief are moving

In receiving the petition I was honoured to be able to speak with Denise and Bruce Morcombe, Noelle Dickson and many other brave parents and family members who have lost loved ones to unspeakable crimes. Their stories of loss and grief are moving, but their resilience and determination are just as inspiring.

I also got to meet many people who have been victims of sex offenders, and they shared their stories with me on the steps of Parliament House yesterday. Tonight I pay tribute to all of them. While meeting with the many petitioners who accompanied Mr Hinch on the last leg of his walk, I was pleased to be able to tell them about this government’s reform of the justice system, with new offences to protect children from sexual abuse, tougher sentences across the board and much stricter conditions for parole and bail.

I ask the Premier to receive the petition and to ensure that the government gives due consideration to the issues the petitioners raise’.

At the start of the Jail 2 Justice walk I stole a line from a baseball movie: ‘Build it and they will come’.

Well, we’ve built it. More than 130,000 of you have come. Like those pictured below. Spread the word. Protect your kids.

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