Monday, 15 June 2020
Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Crimes Against Children and Community Protection Measures) Bill 2019; In Committee
I want to come to some of the points that the minister made in summarising the second reading debate and points made by other government members who have spoken to this legislation. Firstly, obviously there is a carve-out in the mandatory sentencing provisions of this legislation, and that carve-out is contained in 16AAC, which provides that 16AAA and 16AAB(2) do not apply to a person who was aged under 18 years when the offence that the relevant provision specifies a minimum penalty for was committed.
Before I go to some of the implications of putting such a hard marker in—where if you're one day under 18 years of age you are not caught by the mandatory minimum sentencing provisions, but if you are one day over 18 years of age you will be caught by the mandatory minimum sentencing provisions—I want to ask you, Minister, given that you've carved out the people who are under the age of 18 when the relevant offence occurred, why you have not carved out people who have significant cognitive impairment. I place this on the record. Firstly, because you've decided not to do that, if there are other pieces of Commonwealth legislation that apply, could you provide some advice to the Senate on that. Secondly, if there are not other pieces of Commonwealth legislation that apply, and someone who does have significant cognitive impairment actually is caught by the mandatory minimum sentencing provisions of this legislation, I think you risk filling up our jails with mentally ill people—or, I should say, continuing to fill up our jails with mentally ill people. So perhaps you could address that matter, Minister: whether anything in this bill, or any other piece of Commonwealth legislation, would mean that someone who does have significant cognitive impairment would not be caught by the mandatory minimum sentencing provisions in this legislation.