Gunner Government proposes new measures to tackle crime, changes to bail laws

by | Mar 23, 2021 | News | 1 comment

The Gunner Government’s much-hyped “tough on crime” reforms will not be brought to Parliament until May and it remains unclear when the proposed legislation might be enacted, as the Chief Minister announced his proposed reforms to “keep Territorians safe”.

Michael Gunner announced the proposed reforms this morning, which include revocation of bail for re-offenders – something he had previously said was not an issue.

Other proposed reforms intended to cut crime include expanding the list of offences to which the presumption of bail will not be applied, expanding electronic monitoring of offenders, informing judges of how many times a young offender has breached bail, allow for young offenders to be breath-tested if driving and amending the Youth Justice Act to allow for consequences for failing to complete diversion programs.

The government also committed $5 million for “new youth remand infrastructure”, which was later clarified to mean upgrades to existing youth detention facilities.

“Today we announce a suite of measures to keep you safe and hold offenders to greater account – from automatically revoking bail for youth who seriously breach, to more powers for police to use electronic monitoring,” Mr Gunner said.

“Less bail, more consequences for offenders and more visibility of youth on bail makes the work of police easier and the community safer.”

The Opposition however, accused Mr Gunner of “latching onto” their proposed bail legislation bill which will be introduced to Parliament tomorrow and said Mr Gunner was forced to take action after facing pressure over his “gross failures” and “weak laws”.

“Today’s announcement by the Gunner Government is humiliating political spin and lacks basic detail, let alone any substance,” CLP Opposition Leader Lia FInocchiaro.

“It has clearly been cobbled together in the last week, in a desperate attempt to salvage what little dignity Labor has left following A Current Affair’s airing of the Chief Minister’s crime shame.”

Fiery day in Parliament

In a fiery day of Parliamentary sittings, where Question Time was dominated by crime issues and repeated accusations of MLAs “offending” one another, Ms Finocchairo called on Mr Gunner’s government to back their proposed legislation that could come into effect sooner than Mr Gunner’s proposals that won’t be introduced until May.

“It will take many more months to pass and implement the government’s proposed laws before Territorians will be impacted by anything that resembles the change they’re desperate to see,” Ms Finocchiaro said.

“If the Gunner Government is serious, it must pass our Bill.

“Does the Chief Minister acknowledge that if he does not support our legislation on urgency, every crime perpetrated on a Territorian falls on his shoulders?”

Mr Gunner said he accepts responsibility for crime as Chief Minister.

“For every Territorian out there right now, it is my job to make you as safe as possible, and if we fail and you don’t feel safe that sits with me,” Mr Gunner told Parliament.

“It sits with me on everything. And that’s why we never stopped working when it comes to law and order, but we have released today, even more things that we’re going to do to help make Territorians safer … but I will not mislead them.

“There is no silver bullet. There is no quick fix. Constant hard work, and I think they can see today, an acceptance that there are some common sense things that we must do in the Territory.”

He did not commit to backing the CLP’s proposed legislation.

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