Home Affairs Legislation Amendment (Miscellaneous Measures) Bill 2018

Supplmentary Explanatory Memorandum relating to sheet JC577

(Circulated by authority of the Minster for Immigration, Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, the Hon. David Coleman MP)
Amendments to be Moved on Behalf of the Government

General Outline

1. These government amendments amend the Crimes Act 1914 (the "Crimes Act") to insert a presumption against bail for Commonwealth child sex offences that attract the highest maximum penalties.

2. Part 1 of Schedule 9 amends the existing section 15AA of the Crimes Act and creates a presumption against bail for a person alleged to have committed the most serious Commonwealth child sex offences and most second or subsequent offences (excluding section 474.25C). The presumption is intended as a starting point for determining bail as it is inappropriate that such a person be granted bail in relation to these offences unless circumstances exist justifying the grant of bail.

3. The part also makes a minor amendment to section 15AA of the Crimes Act.

4. Part 2 of Schedule 9 introduces an offence-based presumption for certain Commonwealth child sex offences. The Government considers that the criminal conduct involved in this crime type targets one of the most vulnerable groups in the community: children.

5. While bail conditions may act as an effective deterrent, they are only as good as the practical measures taken to enforce those conditions. The ease in utilising anonymising practices such as encryption and virtual private networks makes the enforcement of conditions particularly difficult where that relates to internet offending.

Financial Impact

6. The financial impact of these amendments are largely limited to the costs associated with housing federal prisoners on remand.

7. The Commonwealth does not own or operate any prisons and federal prisoners are currently housed in state and territory prisons. Convicted federal offenders comprise approximately 3 percent of Australia's total prison population while convicted federal sex offenders comprise only 0.4 percent of that population. As such, the overall financial impact on states and territories will be negligible.

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