Liberals Delay Crucial Bill On Youth Justice

23 June 2017

The Andrews Labor Government’s legislation to crackdown on youth crime has been delayed by a posturing Liberal Party.

For all their hyperbole about their commitment to "strengthening youth justice by stronger sentencing and less tolerance of bad behaviour," the Liberals have again been found to be all bluff and bluster.

Despite the Government adding an extra sitting day this week, the Liberal Party’s delaying tactics mean the Bill will remain stuck in the Upper House until at least August.

The Children and Justice Legislation Amendment (Youth Justice Reform) Bill 2017 will increase penalties for young people committing serious and violent crimes.

Under the reforms, young offenders will face longer detention periods of up to four years, risk having their cases being heard in higher courts, and there will be tougher consequences for youths who assault youth justice officers while in detention.

There will be a presumption in favour of lifting serious youth offences, such as aggravated home invasion and aggravated carjacking, from the Children’s Court to the higher courts for those aged 16 years or older.

The new laws will mean young offenders who damage property, escape or attempt to escape from a youth justice facility will serve their sentences on top of any existing period of detention.

The deliberate delay in passing this legislation is further proof the Liberals only pay lip service to a system they neglected for four years.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Families and Children Jenny Mikakos

"If the Liberals were serious about strengthening our youth justice system they would pass this Bill without delay."

"Labor is rebuilding the entire youth justice system – this Bill helps keep our hard working staff safe."

"The Liberals have proven again that they are not interested in improving our youth justice system – they are only interested in scoring cheap political points."

Quotes attributable to Attorney-General Martin Pakula

"It’s disappointing, but not surprising, that the Liberals have filibustered all week and prevented this important Bill from passing."

"Instead of passing our legislation to make the community safer, the Liberals are doing everything they can to slow down its passage through Parliament.

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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