Morrison Government passes laws to keep federal offenders behind bars

The Morrison Government welcomes the passage of the Crimes Amendment (Remissions of Sentences) Bill 2021.

Attorney-General Michaelia Cash said: “the Morrison Government’s highest priority is to keep Australians safe”.

“This bill addresses the significant risks to community safety as a result of remissions being granted to federal offenders under state and territory laws.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic, existing laws have resulted in many federal offenders incarcerated in Victoria, including terrorists, child sex offenders and drug traffickers, receiving ’emergency management days’ – a discount on sentences the Victorian Labor Government gives to inmates for time served during the pandemic.

Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said that ensuring people sentenced for terrorist offences, actually served their sentence was not only in line with community expectations, but was critical to the safety and security of our communities.

“The National Terrorism Threat Level remains at ‘probable’ – we cannot be complacent about the threat of terrorism and violent extremism. Passage of this legislation by the Morrison Government demonstrates once more that only a Coalition Government can be trusted to keep Australians safe,” Minister Andrews said.

Earlier this year, the Victorian Labor Government released a dangerous terrorist-related offender onto the streets of Melbourne at midnight, as Labor’s discounts saw his sentence expire on the same day it was handed down. The man was placed on a Commonwealth control order, with the dangerousness of the situation further highlighted in November 2021 when the man was charged with eight counts of contravening that control order. Each count is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.

If this man had not been granted a discount on his sentence for terrorist-related offences he would likely have still been in custody.

Under the changes passed yesterday, terrorist offenders can now no longer have their sentences reduced with discounts, and neither can anyone else subject to a Federal sentence; ensuring Federal offenders serve the sentence handed to them by a court, not a shorter time gifted to them by Labor’s ‘soft on crime’ policies.

The Morrison Government will continue to work with Victorian authorities to implement these changes.

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