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Monday, July 4, 2016

Derryn Hinch claims victory in the Senate

Australia's general election at the weekend was a disaster.  Both the conservatives and the Labor Party cannot claim victory because it's so close, they are waiting on postal votes and counting is said to continue for weeks.

Meanwhile, both leaders are sweet-talking the Independents, promising them God knows what.

But media personality Derryn Hinch looks set to be elected to the Senate and although he hasn't reached the required quota for one of the 12 available Senate seats in Victoria, he took to Twitter to claim victory.

Hinch will make his political debut on the back of the Derryn Hinch's Justice Party platform of tough sanctions for paedophiles and sex offenders.

In 1998, Hinch served 12 days in prison and was fined $15,000 for contempt of court after he publicly revealed paedophile Roman Catholic priest Michael Charles Glennon's prior conviction while his trial was still pending.

In June 2011, he was convicted of breaching a suppression order against the names of two sex offenders and sentenced to five months home detention.

In October 2013, he was found guilty of contempt of court for breaching a suppression order and revealing details of Jill Meagher's killer, Adrian Ernest Bayley's criminal history.  The judge gave him 90 days to pay $100,000 contempt of court fine or face 50 days in jail.  He chose the latter.

In sentencing Hinch in October, Victorian Supreme Court Judge Stephen Kaye said his web posts had been populist and self-serving.  "Your conduct was grossly irresponsible" Justice Kaye said. "Although you thought you knew better than Justice Nettle, clearly you did not."

It was Hinch's sixth conviction for contempt of court or related offences, a record which Justice Kaye said was disgraceful.

So after 50 nights in prison, Hinch came out, shaken but resolute.

......."the guards and the other guys treated me pretty well but it was no picnic.... you are talking strip searches, bend over, the whole lot......and to wake up on your 70th birthday and have a guard say happy birthday, it was tough."

Hinch served much of his sentence in 23 hour lockdown in maximum security, in accordance with his wishes, worried about his health and safety.  In June 2011, he underwent a successful liver transplant after being diagnosed with liver cancer and given only a few months to live.

During that time in lockdown, he worked on his campaign - Protect Our Children - that calls for a public register for sex offenders. "Serial sex offenders have their names, photos and addresses suppressed by the courts on release... a public register is a right and a national duty that is long overdue."

"I've come out of a place where 93 per cent are sex offenders, I know what these men look like, but when they come out - you won't."

So how many Australian journalists come to mind who would be prepared to undergo 50 nights in a 23 hour lockdown cell?