HINCHINBROOK MP Nick Dametto has challenged members of the State Labor Government who support raising the age of criminal responsibility to come forward, after an internal party document revealed support for the idea.
Mr Dametto said it was only fair that law-abiding Queenslanders knew “who was on their side and who wasn’t” when it came to youth justice.
“I was absolutely gobsmacked when I read media reports this week that a draft of Labor’s proposed State Platform for 2021 had suggested raising the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14. In a time when our state is suffering from a horrific youth crime crisis, I fail to see how this policy proposal will help anyone other than the government with some creative crime statistics to make themselves look good,” Mr Dametto said.
“The Premier has now distanced herself from the document but you’ve got to wonder which Labor party MP’s supported this abomination of an idea in the first place.
“This government has demonstrated time and time again how out of touch they are with our current crime crisis. North Queensland residents should demand to know if their local Labor MPs supported this idea.”
Mr Dametto said studies support the fact that children are developing physically and mentally earlier and that a 10-year-old child “knew right from wrong”.
“Being young shouldn’t be an excuse to be let off the hook for committing crimes that ruin people’s lives,” Mr Dametto said.
“Labor’s current Youth Justice system has failed our communities. They have lost the trust of residents who are fed up with the youth crime crisis plaguing our region. Raising the age of criminal responsibility will be like throwing fuel on the fire.”
Mr Dametto said letting offenders younger 14 “off the hook” wasn’t the answer.
Under Katter’s Australian Party’s relocation sentencing policy, offenders as young as 10 would have the opportunity to be reformed through hard work, discipline and skill building at a remote property at Lake Julius near Mt Isa.
“Young offenders shouldn’t feel like they have a “hall pass”. If KAP policy was implemented, they would find themselves on a one-way bus for six to 12 month stints of hard time living in dongastyle accommodation. The site’s remoteness will become a part of the security, as would GPS bracelets that would be issued to offenders to track down any would-be escapees,” Mr Dametto said.
“Relocation sentencing can break the cycle of youth crime before offenders become career criminals. It will give these juveniles a purpose through the ability to learn respect for themselves and others.
“People are crying out for a circuit breaker that will curb youth crime and the KAP believes we have the answer.