· Hodgman’s proposal is gutter politics in the week before Legislative Council elections
· Labor proposes a much tougher approach to keeping Tasmanian kids safe
· Tougher initiatives to keep offenders in prison need thorough investigation
The Hodgman Government’s so-called hard line against child sex offenders is a political stunt that does not go far enough to protect children.
Shadow Attorney-General Ella Haddad said Labor would instead pursue maximum life sentences for people convicted of sexual offences against a child.
“Labor is absolutely committed to protecting the safety of Tasmanian children,” Ms Haddad said.
“What is clear is that Attorney-General Elise Archer’s so-called hard line will have a devastating effect on victims, forcing them to go through the trauma of a court trial and forcing them to face offenders, in essence doing more damage to survivors.”
Labor has consulted widely with abuse survivors and the legal community and wants a tougher approach including:
· Maximum life sentences for people convicted of sexual offences against a child
· Presumptive non-parole periods for child sex-offenders
· Guideline judgements
· Two new offences within the Criminal Code to better protect young people – Aggravated Sexual Intercourse with a Young Person and Maintaining a Sexual Relationship with a Young Person in Circumstances of Aggression
“The problem with the Liberals’ Bill is that it enshrines sentences that are shorter than those that are already being implemented by the courts,” Ms Haddad said.
“A report from the Sentencing Advisory Council reveals that offenders are receiving sentences that are, on average, more severe than the two and four year minimums specified in the Hodgman Government’s Bill.
“The Premier and the Attorney General know this yet are still intent on playing politics on a very serious issue by bringing on the exact same Bill that was voted down in the last Parliament, without carrying out any new research or consultation.
“Instead of trying to find a quick headline to try and distract attention from the crises in health and housing and other areas, the Hodgman Government should be taking a far tougher approach to keeping Tasmanian children safe.”
Ella Haddad MP