Government Whip in the Legislative Council

Liberal Member in the Parliament of South Australia




The Masked Brothers: Pride of Australia 2019 Nomination

Wednesday 16 October, 2019

As many of you know, I have spoken in this place previously about the unforgivable and atrocious nature of child sexual assault. Time does not erode the gravity of these offences and I believe that adequate penalties must be applied in all circumstances. Unfortunately, in the past, perpetrators have been able to serve penalties of home detention or pathetically short custodial sentences for unspeakable crimes against innocent children, while they themselves must deal with the lifetime consequences as a victim.

Earlier in the year, this almost happened again with one Vivian Deboo. Thirty years after this monster preyed on children and after three years of fighting his subsequent legal charges, Vivian Deboo pled guilty and was sentenced to six years and seven months' gaol. The community was outraged when Deboo was granted permission to appeal his sentence as he sought to serve the remainder of his term in home detention. Fortunately, the court decided to keep Deboo out of our suburbs and instead restated the importance that he serve his sentence behind bars.

Despite Vivian Deboo's horrendous crimes, there is one shining light that has been present throughout this whole court process. This shining light has been Deboo's victims, the masked brothers, known to many of us as brothers A and B. All too often the victims of child sexual abuse are unseen and unheard, and their experiences are so horrific that few people can cope hearing about it. The masked brothers represented these faceless victims and tirelessly campaigned against their offender. They shone the light on the details of the crimes committed against them and highlighted to the community the type of perpetrator that we as a community do not want to be released on home detention or with insipid sentences.

The masked brothers were able to give the community an image of child abuse and spark a conversation about the reform that is needed. They have shone a light on the inadequacy of home detention and insipid sentences and the need for legal change. The masked brothers were able to do all this despite the personal challenges that they have faced in front of the man who stole their innocence. This is a remarkable story of perseverance in the face of evil. Despite their hard-fought campaign to ensure that Deboo served his sentence in gaol, the masked brothers' efforts have not finished.

The attention and support they were able to garner captured government's attention. Their campaign reiterated that the community expects that people who commit child sexual abuse must face the consequences of their heinous crimes. The improvements to home detention laws will be a lasting reminder of the masked brothers' efforts to prevent convicted paedophiles from potentially walking our streets or interacting in our communities while serving their sentence.

Perhaps a greater example of the masked brothers' continuing efforts to fight child sexual abuse is the recent announcement that they will form the Sabre Foundation. The problems with persecuting paedophiles do not end with improvements to home detention laws and insipid sentences. There are 1.4 million child abuse survivors in Australia, many of whom cannot afford let alone imagine confronting their offender.

The figure of 1.4 million children is a sobering statistic. It is a shameful statistic. The Sabre Foundation will aim to help fund lawsuits against perpetrators of child sexual abuse, providing a support structure to those left vulnerable due to the harsh hands of child sexual abuse. I commend their crusade against rectifying the evils of the past and their desire to empower victims to take action. These are selfless men.

After years of emotional and time-consuming work, I was pleased to see in The Advertiser on Saturday 12 October an article reporting that the masked brothers have been announced as joint nominees for the 2019 Pride of Australia awards. This nomination recognises the admirable work of the masked brothers that I have spoken about today. Each nominee is deserving of this award in their own right. Despite this, I wish to encourage people to support the masked brothers with a Pride of Australia award. They have persisted for a cause that improves South Australia, despite their personal challenges. At the same time, they have never sought any personal accolade but rather the betterment of the community.

I believe that they have achieved real change, despite the challenges. This award would recognise the incredible work that the masked brothers have undertaken and further promote the fight that they continue through their foundation. The commendable work of the masked brothers has arisen from the worst possible circumstances. I wish to congratulate them on harnessing the opportunity to advocate against the evils of child sexual assault, and I would encourage all to support them.

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