A new bill that makes it possible for pedophiles to be imprisoned for life is set to pass federal parliament on Thursday.
Pedophiles who abuse children would receive a mandatory minimum sentence under the new bill, which also puts a limit on bail for repeat offenders.
In most cases, it's the states that deal with child sex offenses. However, this new bill only applies to federal cases. That means abuse towards children that is done either online or overseas.
It introduces new offenses, which were set up to target the operators and administrators of websites that are known to publish child sex abuse content.
Additionally, it will add offenses for when a child is subjected to cruelty, degradation, or inhumane treatment, including that which causes the child's death.
The proposal will only apply to adults above the age of 18.
A new offense will also be brought in by the new bill for the grooming of third parties in order to procure children for sexual abuse. In this case, approaching parents and carers with the intention of abusing the child.
The proposed minimum prison terms for child sex offenders will be up to five to seven years for the worst child sex offenses.
Repeat offenders will also be faced with a minimum sentence of one to four years for any child sex offense in the Commonwealth.
"We often see people committing sickening crimes against innocent children handed short sentences, some of them even released into the community without any supervision," attorney-general Christian Porter said.
Almost a third of federally convicted child sex offenders spent no time in prison in 2019, and those who went to jail averaged only 18 months behind bars under the current regulations.
"Sexual crimes against children destroy lives," said Mr Porter on Thursday.
''It simply beggars belief that nearly a third of all child sex offenders who were sentenced last year were not required to spend a single day behind bars," he continued, "despite the devastating and life-long impacts that their crimes have on their young victims and their families."
Although Labor has some concerns about the minimum sentencing, they won't oppose the bill on Thursday, even if the amendments aren't supported.
Anthony Albanese, leader of the party, told parliament on Wednesday that he and his party would be willing to help the government in "any way possible" in its efforts to eliminate child abuse.
These comments were made following Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton's detailing of a police operation, during which 14 children had been saved from child abuse, and a number of offenders arrested.
"The Australian Federal Police working with AUSTRAC and others is detecting more and more people who are depraved, who are online, and who deserve to be caught and will be punished," Mr. Dutton told parliament.
"Sentences need to reflect community expectations and act as a significant deterrent to others, which is why these sorts of despicable crimes must result in significant penalties, not simply a slap on the wrist which is often the case," he said last year.
Many children have been victims of child abuse in general and sexual violence in particular. This new bill has the potential to be a great step towards a safer environment for our children.