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Tough youth justice reforms cause spat

Queensland's youth justice reforms, due to be introduced into parliament this week, will be reviewed by a parliamentary committee.

The proposed legislation has caught the attention of civil libertarians and human rights groups, such as Amnesty International, with the chief concern being that the laws remove detention as a last resort, which contravenes major human rights standards.

Opponents of the proposed laws, which include sending children to adult prisons if they have more than six months on their sentence when they turn 17 and allowing the 'naming and shaming' of repeat juvenile offenders, have written to the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Rights requesting the UN intervene.

But Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie, who spent a lot of last year speaking about youth justice issues and promising tough action, said the legislation consisted of “tough, but necessary and fair” reforms, needed to help “put...these people on the right path, getting a job and an education”.

“They have been fully consulted on, across Queensland,” Mr Bleijie said.

“We had more than 4200 responses to the youth survey and I am looking forward to introducing these reforms so we can finally turn the tide on juvenile justice issues and crime in Queensland.”

One LNP MP who needs no convincing is the Member for Cairns, Gavin King.

Mr King released a response to the letter the Australian director of Amnesty International, Claire Mallinson wrote to the Premier last week, accusing Ms Mallinson of not understanding communities like his electorate.

“While I'm sure it feels warm and fuzzy to be able to pontificate from the air-conditioned offices of Amnesty International in a capital city far, far away, the comments by Claire Mallinson are an insult to many communities across regional Queensland,” Mr King said in his February 2 missive.

“Ms Mallinson's comments are a slap in the face for the thousands of victims, police, small business owners and the broader community who have put up with the damaging impact of youth crime for too long,” he said.

Mr King said the government was working to “swing the pendulum back” in favour of victims, as well as developing programs, such as a flexible learning school for disengaged youth, on top of the boot camp reforms already in place.

“....I personally invite Ms Mallinson to step out of her ivory tower and jump on a plane to Cairns, where I can introduce her to countless victims of youth crime. Their perspectives on this issue should be heard and respected, rather than solely relying on international conventions dreamed up in European hamlets or academic reports from university professors,” Mr King said.

Mr Bleijie is expected to introduce the legislation to parliament on Tuesday. It will be sent to a parliamentary committee for review, but the government has no obligation to consider any of the committee's recommendations.

Once back in front of the House, given the government's majority, the legislation will pass.

9 comments so far

  • Compassion and understanding is required, not an iron fist.

    Destroying someone's life at such a young age is not the best answer.

    I knew some kids when I was a lad who did some seriously bad stuff and if these laws were applied, they would have been totally screwed. Two of them are national managers, another works internationally as a highly paid consultant. None of them earn under $100k per year, one is a multi millionaire. They are all involved in their community.

    Kids do stupid things but if you give them opportunity and guidance, my experience is that they'll surprise you. If you knock them down and keep a boot on their head, nothing works out well. It takes a village to raise a child, not a prison.

    Commenter
    JoBlo
    Location
    Here
    Date and time
    February 11, 2014, 2:52AM
    • Mr King (Bleige and Newman), I personally invite you to step out of your ivory tower and jump on a plane to any Queensland electorate where I'll introduce you to countless victims of the
      LNP. Their perspective should be heard and repected instead of you relying on your personal religious, royalist attitude to determine what is best for the masses. Hello, pot-kettle-black.

      Commenter
      Pete
      Date and time
      February 11, 2014, 6:55AM
      • Typical conservative solution to the effects of high youth unemployment, adressing the symptoms and not the causes. We're tough on the young and less fortunate, your a big heartless man Boy Wonder.

        Commenter
        Johnny Thunder
        Location
        Planet Earth
        Date and time
        February 11, 2014, 7:37AM
        • "Jarrod, just once could you come up with something that works. We need a populist, laura norda campaign to take the cattle's minds of the economy. The Bikie stuff has lost us votes and the courts tossed out the pedo laws". "I know Campbell, Kids! Old people think they're all hooligans, but the best part is they don't get to vote"!

          Commenter
          cycloniq
          Date and time
          February 11, 2014, 7:45AM
          • The new rule... everyone except Newman and his cronies are criminals now

            Commenter
            Matt
            Location
            Brisbane
            Date and time
            February 11, 2014, 7:59AM
            • Wow......human rights are just "conventions dreamed up in European hamlets or academic reports from university professors"
              I understand the desire for action as ive experienced both sides of the fence, but do we really need to ignore all international conventions in this state.
              We already send 17 year olds to adult jail even though they cant drink, vote or smoke

              Commenter
              scholar
              Date and time
              February 11, 2014, 8:25AM
              • "Opponents of ... 'naming and shaming' of repeat juvenile offenders, have written to the United Nations' Special Rapporteur on Indigenous Rights requesting the UN intervene"

                If only indigenous repeat offenders are named and shamed, it is certainly intolerable. If not, this is just another excuse of the Offenders' Lawyer Friends circle to blame the government instead of the offenders.

                Commenter
                greg
                Date and time
                February 11, 2014, 8:57AM
                • "international conventions dreamed up in European hamlets or academic reports from university professors"
                  Ah that is correct. Why should a jumped up conveyancing clerk listen to anyone who has expertise? Or have a concern for the veneer of civilization that has taken 200 years to carefully nurture?

                  I'm just waiting for the powers to be given to police to summarily detain anyone because they "look dodgy" or have previous form. Oh right that has already happened. Where next? The Brazilian approach of sending police to "clean up" the favellas at the end of a machine pistol? Or possible we can re-invent the American West of the 1880s and just have private citizens take matters into their own hands.

                  Come on folk ... where does this stop!

                  Commenter
                  Loki
                  Location
                  Valhalla
                  Date and time
                  February 11, 2014, 9:36AM
                  • I'm wondering what punishment the parents of these kids will be given, any kid could potentially be in this situation but they have parents who nip that sort of behaviour in the bud. Sending them to jail with adults when they turn 17 is not the answer either, they will possibly become more angry and vengeful and still turn to crime when released. I hope these new laws are very carefully thought through before they are passed, we don't want another fiasco like the bikie laws that were introduced.

                    Commenter
                    Pat Hall
                    Location
                    Capalaba
                    Date and time
                    February 11, 2014, 10:14AM

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