NZ-born Derryn Hinch's decades-long campaign for a national sex offender registry could soon be realised

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

Meet Senator Derryn Hinch, a man on a mission to use his new position in Australian politics 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."

Victoria'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 crime 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.

- news.com.au

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