CRIMINAL CODE PROVISIONS
1220. Hon COLIN TINCKNELL to the Leader of the House representing
the Attorney General:
I refer to my two previous
questions without notice 804 and 827 asked on 13 and 14 August respectively.
(1) Can the Attorney General tell me whether it is an
offence under any general criminal legislation to contaminate a child
with illicit substances, and whether the offence under section 101 of the
Children and Community Services Act 2004 would apply in these circumstances?
(2) Does the government feel this is appropriate
protection for children, given the long, drawn-out and intrusive process
that necessarily must occur with the Department of Communities before such an
offence can be referred to police?
(3) Does the government have any plans to rectify this
situation and bring in better, less convoluted protections for children?
(4) Does the
government find it inconsistent that a person can be directly charged for
consuming tobacco products around a child due to the dangers it causes, but the
law does not provide the same safeguards in relation to illicit substances?
I thank the honourable member for
some notice of the question.
(1) It is an
offence, punishable by up to 10 years' imprisonment under section 101
of the Children and Community Services Act 2004, to fail to protect a child
(2) The police can, and do, commence prosecutions
under section 101 of the Children and Community Services Act 2004
without prior consultation with the Department of Communities. Simultaneous or
subsequent referral of appropriate matters
to the Department of Communities may occur in the best interests of the child.
(3) Not applicable.
(4) The government considers that the maximum penalty
of 10 years' imprisonment for failing to protect a child from harm under section 101 of the Children and
Community Services Act 2004 provides a robust response to persons who
may expose a child to harm—in this case, by exposing a child to the
contaminants of illicit substances.