Key Community Safety Reforms Pass Parliament

Two more major community safety reforms passed Parliament this week under the Andrews Labor Government.

The Sentencing Amendment (Sentencing Standards) Bill 2017 will introduce a new sentencing regime to increase the jail terms for 12 of the most serious crimes.

The reforms will replace current sentencing practice with higher sentencing standards more in line with community expectations. A new sentencing standard will apply to the following crimes:

  • Murder: 25 years
  • Murder of an emergency service worker or custodial officer: 30 years
  • Culpable driving causing death: 8 years
  • Trafficking a large commercial quantity drug of dependence: 16 years
  • Rape: 10 years
  • Sexual penetration of a lineal descendant under 18 years-old : 10 years
  • Sexual penetration of a step-child under 18 years-old : 10 years
  • Persistent sexual abuse of a child under 16 years-old: 10 years
  • Sexual penetration with a child under 12 years-old: 10 years
  • Sexual penetration with a child under 16 years-old: 6 years
  • Sexual assault of a child under 16 years-old: 4 years
  • Sexual activity in the presence of a child under 16 years-old: 4 years
  • Causing a child under 16 to be present during sexual activity: 4 years

The Labor Government introduced the new sentencing standards to replace the former Liberal Government’s failed Baseline Sentencing Scheme which was found to be unworkable by the Court of Appeal.

Courts will be able to deviate from the sentencing standards due to aggravating or mitigating factors but they will need to provide reasons if they do so.

The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Public Order) Bill 2017 also passed Parliament this week and includes new statutory offences of affray and violent disorder, and additional police powers to keep the community safe.

Under the reforms, police will be able to direct a person within a designated area to remove a face covering if it’s being worn to hide their identity or to stop the effects of capsicum spray. Police will also be able to direct a person to leave the designated area if they reasonably believe the person intends to commit affray or violent disorder.

Affray will carry a maximum penalty of five years jail, or seven years if committed while wearing a face covering. Violent disorder will have a maximum of 10 years jail, or 15 years if committed while wearing a face covering.

Quotes attributable to Attorney General Martin Pakula

“While Matthew Guy has been focussed on lobster, Grange and dodgy donations, we have been focussed on getting these important community safety laws through Parliament.”

“Unlike the Liberals, who pretend to be tough on crime, we’re cracking down on serious offenders and keeping the community safe.”