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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Targeting online predators: proposed changes to criminal law

Fifty-year-old Gary Newman was sentenced to life in prison in 2010 for the brutal murder of 15-year-old Carly Ryan in 2007. However, Newman committed no crime in posing online as 18-year-old Brandon Kane in order to meet Carly.     Senator Nick Xenophon says that is a gap in the criminal law which he hopes to close with his Private Members Bill, the Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013. Read more...

Priests, Penitents, Confidentiality and Child Sexual Abuse

In the light of Prime Minister Gillard’s announcement of a Royal Commission into institutional responses to the sexual abuse of children there has been a particular focus on the role of the ‘confessional seal’. The Roman Catholic practice whereby communications made in the confessional are treated as absolutely confidential has been hotly debated, in particular whether this doctrine forms an inappropriate impediment to the appropriate investigation and treatment of cases of abuse.The issue of evidence of child sexual abuse within the confessional seal arises in three different contexts: mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse, evidence to be given in legal proceedings, and evidence befo... Read more...

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