Wednesday, 19 August 2015
Crimes Legislation Amendment (Powers, Offences and Other Measures) Bill 2015; In Committee
I move the amendment on sheet 7748 regarding penalties for firearms trafficking:
(1) Schedule 6, items 1 to 3, page 11 (lines 5 to 23), omit the items, substitute:
1 Subsection 360.3(1) (penalty)
Repeal the penalty, substitute:
Penalty: Imprisonment for 20 years or a fine of 5,000 penalty units, or both.
The amendment does several things. Firstly, it alters schedule 6 to remove mandatory minimum sentencing of five years for cross-border firearms trafficking offences. Secondly, it strengthens the penalties associated with these offences from 10 years to 20 years. I believe my amendment strikes an important balance between maintaining the role of the courts in the consideration of penalties for cross-border firearms trafficking offences and increasing the suite of penalty tools available to the courts in sentencing associated with these offences.
Mandatory sentencing removes the ability of our judges to take into account the unique circumstances surrounding each offence before rendering a conviction and issuing a sentence. Taking the consideration and application of penalties out of the hands of the courts and putting them into the hands of politicians is dangerous, irresponsible and in direct conflict with the spirit of the Constitution. It is for these reasons that I have put forward my amendment, and I commend this amendment to the Senate.