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Fair Approach to Fines Needed

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Tags: Justice, Cost of Living, Poverty, Community Legal Centres

Rosalie Woodruff MP | Greens' Justice spokesperson 

The Tasmanian Greens support calls from Community Legal Centres (CLCs) Tasmania to change the way fines are structured in order to ensure Tasmanians on low incomes are not going without food, clothing and shelter in order to pay their fines.

Fines are meant to discourage behaviour, but the effect can range from financially crippling to virtually no impact depending on a person’s income.  

For pensioners and students, for example, paying a fine can mean the difference between eating or not.

For some who cannot afford to pay a fine, it can lead to further fees, driver licence disqualifications, and significant disruption to their lives.  A person on a higher income will not experience the same financial disadvantage and some won't even notice the money gone.

The outcomes for people who are fined can be drastically different between people who have committed the same offence or infraction depending only on their income, this is not just.

The Greens support calls to change the way we calculate fines.  Indeed, former Greens' Leader and Justice spokesperson, Nick McKim, has advocated for this policy in the past.