Victorian Upper House MP Rachel Carling-Jenkins has revealed that her estranged husband has been convicted for child pornography possession.
The Australian Conservatives MP said the discovery in February last year turned her life upside down and ended the marriage immediately.
Her husband, Gary Jenkins, has been sentenced to prison, but Dr Carling-Jenkins said he was refusing to sign divorce papers and continued to contact their son.
In a powerful speech, Dr Carling-Jenkins said she felt for the “little girls” in the collection, which she viewed.
“These little girls would not be abused if people like my ex-husband did not provide a market,” Dr Carling-Jenkins said.
In June, Dr Carling-Jenkins announced she was leaving the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) to join senator Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives party.
Dr Carling-Jenkins and her son made the grim discovery last year and reported Jenkins to police.
She told Parliament it was an extensive collection.
“I personally viewed deeply distressing images that have caused me immediate and ongoing anguish,” she said.
“I have no regrets, as a mother or a wife, in reporting or exposing this dreadful crime, which occurred in the privacy of my home.”
In March, Jenkins was sentenced to four months’ prison for one count of knowingly possessing child pornography.
“I do not believe a sentence of a few months and inclusion on the sex offenders register was adequate,” Dr Carling-Jenkins said.
For some time, Dr Carling-Jenkins believed her husband had a mental illness but she said efforts to get him help were rebuffed.
“Gary does not have a mental illness, his behaviour stemmed from something much more sinister,” she said.
“Our lives were turned upside down the day of the discovery. We were gutted. My marriage ended instantly.”
Dr Carling-Jenkins said her husband was now subjecting her and her son to financial, psychological and emotional abuse.
She said he was refusing to sign a property settlement, leaving her in insecure accommodation. He has also resisted signing divorce papers.
“Our system is such that whomever holds the assets can continue to abuse, leaving survivors vulnerable,” Dr Carling-Jenkins said.
She said she had been subjected to vile stories, harassment and threats.
The faces of the abused girls are etched in her mind, and she revealed that she unconsciously scans faces in the streets.
“These little girls have lost their innocence, their childhood and control over their destiny.”
Dr Carling-Jenkins was hugged by MPs from all sides of Parliament after giving the speech.