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Aussie paedophile passport ban hits world headlines

May 31, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Australia has announced tough new laws to cancel the passports of convicted paedophiles in a bid to prevent them travelling overseas to molest children, thus helping stop sexual abuse in developing countries.

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said she would cancel the passports of about 20,000 paedophiles on the national child sex offender register under legislation soon to be introduced.

The announcement has been hailed around the world and other countries may follow Australia’s lead. It was reported in the US, Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore, Ireland, Germany, France and many other countries within minutes of the announcement.

Australia has led the way on other important pieces of social legislation, including mandatory plain packaging of cigarettes, which has reduced cigarette consumption and is now being emulated by other nations.

On the sex offender front, “the new laws will prohibit registered child sex offenders from leaving Australia or holding Australian passports,” Bishop said.

The drive follows several unsavoury high-profile cases, including that of 70-year-old Australian man Robert Andrew Fiddes Ellis, who was jailed for 15 years in Bali last October for sexually abusing 11 young girls aged between seven and 17 over a two-year period. Ellis said he did not deserve jail because “it was not a serious thing” and he “paid them generously”.

Almost 800 registered child sex offenders travelled overseas from Australia in 2016. About half of those were obliged under state or territory laws to notify police of their intent to travel but many failed to do so.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan said the new laws were “the strongest crackdown on child-sex tourism ever” as no country had ever taken such decisive action “to stop its citizens from going overseas, often to vulnerable countries, to abuse kids”.

Senator Derryn Hinch, who has campaigned for years, both in and out of parliament,  for such measures, said yesterday he was “over the moon”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has previously described child sex tourists as “some of the worst grubs you can imagine”.

Written by Peter Needham

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