Crackdown on parents who abduct
A PARENT who refused to bring his or her children home from overseas would face up to three years in jail under a Federal Government crackdown on international abduction.
The changes would also make it easier to find missing children by giving police powers to conduct phone tapping, monitor bank transactions and work with international counterparts.
Attorney-General George Brandis wants to close a loophole in the law related to custody disputes that allows parents to avoid criminal prosecution for abduction under some circumstances.
Currently if a parent has the agreement of the other to take their child overseas for a set period of time, even if they do not return by that date, no criminal action can be taken.
It would become a criminal offence, with a maximum jail term of three years, to retain the child overseas beyond the agreed timeframe.
Latest figures show up to 100 applications are made by Australia to another country each year under The Hague Convention on international child abduction, but experts believe the figure is likely closer to 1000.
"It is not currently unlawful to retain a child overseas beyond an authorised period," a spokesman for Senator Brandis said. "The proposed offence provision fixes that gap ... the impacts of wrongful removal and retention on children can be devastating."