Bec White’s fence-sitting approach to keeping Tasmanians safe

Elise Archer,Attorney-General

Bec White’s underwhelming leadership was on show this morning when she told radio listeners she would not support mandatory jail sentences for child sex offenders who commit heinous crimes against children and those who seriously assault our hardworking frontline workers.

Instead Ms White took to attacking a former member of her own party Madeleine Ogilvie: “If the role of an independent is to simply support the Government of the day, then that is not what I think an independent is.”

She then confirmed Labor would support an increase to the maximum available penalty despite the Sentencing Advisory Council (SAC) saying: “It is unclear whether making changes to the maximum penalties for the various offences under the Criminal Code will make any significant difference to sentencing practice in Tasmania. The experience in other jurisdictions is that sentences rarely increase in the same proportion as an increase in maximum penalty.”

SAC’s research shows that the highest sentence imposed in recent years for a sexual crime covered by this Bill is 15 years which is well short of the current maximum in the Criminal Code. This proves that Labor’s position is a complete furphy and a thinly veiled attempt to look tougher on crime when in actual fact they will not guarantee jail time for child sex offenders.

When it came to pill testing, the Opposition leader was forced to embarrassingly admit point blank that she does not have a position: “I am actually on the fence on this one, I don’t have a firm position either way.”

Last week, Labor’s health spokesperson Sarah Lovell ridiculed the Government’s commitment to work on communication and intervention programs with the community, the drug and alcohol prevention sector and festival organisers, saying: “those types of campaigns do not work.”

Just days later Ms White contradicted her health spokesperson and agreed that the Government’s approach is right to put in place more education and awareness programs for young people and their families.

Which Labor should Tasmanians believe? What exactly is Labor’s position?

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