An emotional Sonia Ryan has spoken to the media as the law named for her daughter, murdered by an online predator at Port Elliot 10 years ago, passed federal parliament.
Carly’s Law will now give police more power to intervene before a child becomes a victim, making it illegal to plan to harm a child under 16 and to lie to a child online about your age.
The law has been a tireless crusade for Sonia who has been working closely with the Nick Xenophon Team to have the legislation become a reality, telling the media after it passed parliament that she’s proud something positive has come from something so tragic.
Member for Mayo Rebekha Sharkie addressed the law in parliament yesterday saying this is a major step towards ensuring the safety of children as they attempt to navigate the online space.
I commend the government for working with the Nick Xenophon Team to bring the Criminal Code Amendment (Protecting Minors Online) Bill before the parliament. In my electorate there is a picturesque seaside town called Port Elliot, which is located on the perfectly curved shore of Horseshoe Bay. However, it is also the place where a great tragedy occurred—the murder of a beautiful young girl who had just turned 15. Her name was Carly Ryan. She was a young girl in my electorate in the Adelaide Hills. Ten years ago Carly was lured to her death on the beach by a 47-year-old paedophile, who had lied about his age online. His name is Garry Newman. He was described by the judge in sentencing as 'an overweight, balding, middle-aged paedophile with sex and murder on his mind'. He murdered Carly because she refused his advances. He suffocated her by pushing her face in the white sand of Horseshoe Bay, before throwing her in the sea.
I am here today to speak in support of this legislation, which we in the Nick Xenophon Team call 'Carly's law' because of that meeting on the beach and because, at the time, none of Newman's behaviour online was illegal. No law was broken before he murdered her. Nothing could have been done by police to intervene if they had been alerted. So this legislation is designed to close that loophole.
To read Ms Sharkie's full speech to parliament click here.