Wednesday, 19 August 2015
Crimes Legislation Amendment (Powers, Offences and Other Measures) Bill 2015; In Committee
As indicated in the running sheet, Labor's amendment is identical to the Greens. I have elaborated previously on our reasons for wanting to see minimum mandatory sentencing removed. Indeed, we have had this debate here before, we have determined this matter before and it seems to be a pattern of behaviour from the Abbott government or maybe it is just the Attorney-General to keep presenting things back to the Senate that we have already previously determined.
I think the key point here is that we still have not heard anything new in the argument to justify introducing minimum mandatory sentencing. Senator Fierravanti-Wells said we have got a policy and we have had comes consultations with states and territories. With respect to Senator Fierravanti-Wells, that is not what we heard in the committee inquiry. With respect to the position of the states and territories, the state prosecutors and very significant stakeholders in this field are all saying we have significant problems here.
As Senator Wright indicated, we asked in the hearings: can you give us some cases at least which justify taking this approach. The Attorney-General's Department could not do so because their own guidelines recommend that they not do so. I do understand that the government took to the last election a policy position here but the key point here and the key point to the Senate yet again is that it was not a considered policy position and it was not a position that had been consulted adequately to make such significant changes with such significant effects. Whilst we were happy to support Senator Lazarus's amendment, without it succeeding in the Senate we revert to our previous position, which is that schedule 6 should be removed.