Greens oppose extension of mandatory sentencing laws

Mandatory sentencing is a failed policy that does not reduce crime, says Greens WA MLC Lynn MacLaren, as debate continues in the Upper House on the Criminal Law Amendment (Home Burglary and Other Offences) Bill 2014.

“It is apparent that the Greens are the only Parliamentary voices of dissent to the Government’s plan to extend mandatory sentencing,” Ms MacLaren said.

“Be that as it may, the Greens will continue to speak out to represent our constituents and the growing body of people who see mandatory sentencing for what it is – a cynical vote-grabbing exercise.

“On the matter of mandatory sentencing the Barnett Government is long on rhetoric and short on facts.

“So it remains for the Greens alone to urge reflection and review, and to ask the question –“Will the proposed new laws reduce home burglaries in Western Australia?

“The answer is no.

“Mandatory sentencing has a disproportionate impact on marginalised people – the poor, the mentally ill, the drug-affected, the young and Aboriginal people.

“I challenge the State Government, and Canning candidate Andrew Hastie, who has weighed into this debate to support mandatory sentencing extensions - to produce their evidence to show that mandatory sentencing will reduce the number of home burglaries.

“I also challenge the Government to commit to implementing the policies that are known to work to reduce crime. That is, long term, research-linked, community-based strategies, including health-based substance abuse programs.”

The Greens motion to send the Criminal Law Amendment (Home Burglary and Other Offences) Bill 2014 to the Standing Committee on Legislation was opposed by the ALP, the Shooters and Fishers, the Liberals and the Nationals. We will propose amendments during the continuation of debate on the Bill in the Upper House next week.