New Zealand-born Derryn Hinch’s decades-long campaign for a national sex offender registry could soon be realised

July 4, 2016 8:30 pm

Derryn Hinch plans to make big changes when he’s sworn in. Photo / Corp

Meet Senator Derryn Hinch, a man on a mission to use his new position
in Australian to reveal the identities of every sex offender
in the country.
It’s not a new plan, but it’s one the New
Zealand-born 72-year-old says is finally within reach after years
dedicated to the cause.
In 1987, he spent 12 days behind bars for publicly revealing details about paedophile priest Michael Charles Glennon.
In 2011, he spent five months in home detention for naming two sex offenders despite suppression orders.
Between January and March 2014, he spent 50 days in prison for revealing details about Jill Meagher’s killer, Adrian Bayley.

He has 160,000 signatures on a petition for a public national
sex offender registry but, despite all his efforts, his dream has never
been realised. That could change after he secured a Victorian Senate
seat on behalf of his Justice Party at Saturday’s Australian election.
The
platform will afford the controversial former 3AW Melbourne broadcaster
unrivalled legal protection to pursue his campaign and leverage to
“horse trade” his agenda with parliamentarians trying to get their own
bills through the Senate.

“I don’t like the term ‘horse trading’ but it’s probably fairly accurate,” he told news.com.au.
“If
I can see some other Senator, if I can see something else that they
want, that I could live with, then I’d say to them: ‘I’ll back you on
yours if you back us on mine’.”
There are a number of legislative hurdles that stand in his way but Hinch says he has genuine hope.
“Even
before I got in, back in February, a Senator contacted me and said: ‘If
you get in, would you co-author a bill for me?’ I said to him: ‘Yes, I
would, but I need your backing on this’.”
Details of Hinch’s plan
are relatively simple. He wants to change Australia’s current sex
offender registry from private to public.
At the moment, only a
select group of senior police have access to the details of Australia’s
convicted sex offenders. Hinch wants to make that information accessible
to everybody. He wants to model it after a system already in place in
the United States.
“Americans have had this system for 20 years,” he said.
“Bill
Clinton brought it in around 1996 and called it Megan’s Law after Megan
Kanka, a seven-year-old girl who was raped and murdered by a convicted
sex offender.
“I’ve interviewed her mother, Maureen, in a little
town called Hamilton, New Jersey … The American system is so good that
they even have an app.
“I’ve stood in Times Square and used it.
You punch in the location and up pop 15 flags of convicted sex offenders
living within 2km of where you are standing.
“The app gives you
their name, their photograph, their home address, their criminal history
and their sentence. Our model should look the same.”
Hinch is quick to point out that he is not advocating for vigilante justice. In fact, he is strongly against it.
“I don’t want people putting big red signs in front of a person’s house reading: ‘Warning: Sex predator lives here’.
“I’m
not a vigilante, I loathe vigilantism. The only people I’ve ever
blocked on my website are people who are advocating killing
paedophiles.”
’s newest Senator has a long list of plans
for his time in the Senate. He is a big supporter of voluntary
euthanasia advocate Philip Nitschke. He is outspoken about the need to
introduce marriage equality. He wants justice in sentencing so the scope
of the sentence matches the committed.
He has always been
political, but this is his first foray into politics. Until Saturday, he
had never even voted at an election. There’s a reason that changed, he
told news.com.au.
“The joke is that I’ve finally found somebody worth voting for.”
Hinch
joins a Senate that includes Pauline Hanson, Jacqui Lambie and as many
as three members of the Nick Xenophon team. Of 76 Senate seats,
estimates suggest the Coalition will win at least 29, Labor will win 25
and the Greens will win nine.

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