Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, will introduce a revamped version of ‘Carly’s Law’, which he believes should get bi-partisan support, when Federal Parliament resumes next month.
‘Carly’s Law’ is named after Carly Ryan – the 15-year-old Adelaide girl who was murdered in February 2007 by 47-year-old online predator and paedophile, Garry Francis Newman. Newman created a fake profile – 20-year-old musician Brandon Kane – to lure Carly to her death at an isolated South Australian beach.
In 2010, Senator Xenophon introduced legislation to make it illegal for an adult to lie about their age when communicating online with a child. However, the Bill was rejected by both major parties.
The revamped Bill makes it an offence if an adult lies online about their age to a child and attempts to meet the child. The new Bill has the strong backing of Sonya Ryan, Carly’s mother, and The Carly Ryan Foundation.
Sonya Ryan is the 2013 South Australian of the Year for her tireless work and advocacy to protect children from online predators and dangers.
“The problem with current 'grooming' laws is that the police have to prove the predator has contacted the child with a sexual purpose. This reform will make it much easier to protect children,” Nick said.
Senator Xenophon urged MPs and Senators from all sides of politics to support ‘Carly’s Law’.
“In the past lawmakers, and even some police, have put this issue too-hard to fix basket,” Nick said.
“But most parents of a child understand that the law should intervene when a child is being deceived in this way and the perpetrator is trying to meet this child.”
It is expected the legislation will be referred to a Senate Committee for inquiry.
“Public support for the Bill is not just welcome, it’s critical,” Nick said.
Last week Sonya Ryan met with the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, the Hon Mark Butler MP, to discuss the work of the Foundation.
“It was a very good meeting. The Minister fully understood the nature of the problem and gave Sonya a great hearing,” Nick said.
Senator Xenophon is also campaigning for The Carly Ryan Foundation to receive more Government funding so it can reach out to more parents and children.
“Right now, the Foundation uses Carly’s old bedroom as an office. Even though it has received thousands of emails and calls since its inception in 2010, it could to do so much more with just a little bit of extra support,” Nick said.