Ms WOODRUFF question to ACTING ATTORNEY-GENERAL, Mr GROOM
Your flawed, highly political law and order policies are filling the prison. Since you took office you systematically ignored the advice of the Sentencing Advisory Council, the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute, community legal centres, the legal profession, prison unions and pushed through legislation on mandatory minimum sentences. Scrapping suspended sentences is only going to make this worse and increase the pressure on the prison. You have no plans to cater for the huge influx of new prisoners your laws will create. Instead of funding reform programs for non-violent, low risk offenders, you have criminalised a new class of Tasmanians.
This week the conservative Liberal think tank, the Institute of Public Affairs, released a report that shows tough on crime policies, like yours, are an abject failure.
Will you admit your disastrous policies are blowing out the prison population, costing taxpayers a fortune and making our state a less safe place to live?
Government members interjecting.
Madam SPEAKER - Order. Members on my right are coming very close to being ejected. There is a number that have been like that all week.
Madam Speaker, I thank the member for her question. The Hodgman Liberal Government makes no apology for the fact we stand on the side of victims and we stand on the side of the community and the community's genuine concern with these types of issues. It stands in stark contrast to the position of those opposite, the Labor-Greens coalition, who seem predetermined to focus on the circumstances of the offenders and ignore the concerns of the community and the rights of victims.
Tasmanians are concerned with issues like serious sexual offences against children. Reflect on the types of crimes we are talking about: heinous crimes against young people, crimes like rape against a young person or engaging in sexual intercourse with a young person in aggravated circumstances. We are talking about circumstances where the offender has deliberately engaged in acts to humiliate that victim or in circumstances to engage in an offence in the company of other people or to do it in a circumstance where there is a breach of trust. These are amongst the most serious crimes imaginable.
The Tasmanian community is concerned about the sentencing outcomes when it comes to those crimes and they have a point. I know it is not comfortable for those opposite to acknowledge this but the fact is that the experts have conceded that when it comes to sentencing outcomes for serious sexual offences against children, they are below the standard expected by the community. They are below the standard being delivered by the court system interstate.
Notwithstanding this, we have a Labor Party and a Greens party, a Labor-Greens opposition, that are determined to stand in the way of the Government's agenda when it comes to sensible reform -
Madam SPEAKER - Order. If members are not interested in question time and want to have a conversation they can go outside.
Mr GROOM - We have a Labor-Greens coalition standing in the way of the Government's agenda which involves sensible reform designed to ensure that we get appropriate sentencing outcomes for some of the most heinous crimes imaginable, crimes against children, very serious crimes, and it is a matter of great regret that we have a Greens-Labor coalition that is prepared to stand on the side of the offender and deny the rights of the victim or listen to the community. The community has a right to expect that serious offenders will be treated appropriately when it comes to sentencing outcomes. It seems we have a Labor-Greens coalition that wants to see serious offenders walking the streets of our community. That is an unacceptable outcome.
As we indicated yesterday, when it comes to the issue of minimum mandatory sentences for serious sexual offences against children, to have heard a Labor member compare that to other offences and seek to deny the responsibility of the perpetrators of those crimes was appalling. Rebecca White, as the Leader of the Opposition, should stand up clearly in this place and apologise for those comments because they do not reflect the views of the community.
We make no apologies for standing on the side of the community. We make no apologies for standing on the side of victims. We will do everything we need to do to keep people safe and of course we will do everything we need to do to make sure that we have effective and proper management of our prison system.