Monday, 15 June 2020
Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Crimes Against Children and Community Protection Measures) Bill 2019; In Committee
I also want to join with Senator McKim in thanking the government for listening to what we had to say on this point about a review. As I said during my second reading speech in relation to this bill, Labor believes that this bill should proceed without mandatory minimum sentences—and we'll come to that later. Mandatory sentencing is wrong in principle, does nothing to reduce or deter crime and, worst of all, has adverse consequences. It makes it harder to catch criminals, harder to prosecute criminals and harder to convict them. It should not be supported.
As recommended by senators of Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee, Labor also thinks that the Attorney-General should be required to initiate a review of sentencing practices in relation to Commonwealth child sex offences so that the government and the parliament can ensure that people convicted of child sex offences are being sentenced in accordance with community standards and expectations. Happily, these hastily prepared amendments moved by the government would implement that particular recommendation by Labor senators. Labor does welcome these amendments. If they are successful, I would like to give the Senate notice that the opposition will not be moving items 1 and 3 on sheet 8800.