We all deserve the right to a safe and peaceful existence, free from crime and fear of violence. We must protect human rights and provide access to justice for all.
The Australian Greens Victoria believe that:
- All Australians have a right to a safe and peaceful existence, free from crime and fear of violence.
- The rule of law, the protection of human rights and access to justice for all people are fundamental to a democratic society.
- The separation of powers between the executive, the parliament and the judiciary is crucial to the maintenance of freedom, justice and democracy.
- Equality before the law can only be achieved when there is recognition of the way in which cultural, social and economic structures and practices influence decision-making processes and affect people’s choices and opportunities.
- The fundamental principles of the right to a fair hearing – such as access to open, impartial and independent courts and, in the case of criminal proceedings, habeas corpus, the right to silence, the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty and the right to a trial by jury – must be preserved and upheld.
- Access to justice requires policies and resources that overcome social, economic and cultural inequalities to ensure equality before the law.
- Victorian law must address the particular cultural and social needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- A fairer, more equal and inclusive society will improve social cohesion and reduce crime.
- There should be an end to politically motivated law and order campaigns that exploit and fuel public anxieties.
- Victims of crime should receive the necessary support required to facilitate recovery.
- Police should have adequate powers to protect the community but at the same time be accountable for the use of all powers.
- Reducing access to guns in society is essential to reducing crime.
- The promotion, sale and consumption of alcohol needs responsible regulation to reduce crime and the cost to the community.
- Victoria needs a fully-staffed, effectively trained Police service with strong community links and a focus on maintaining a safe, peaceful and just society.
Courts and Tribunals
- Courts and tribunals that are impartial, well-resourced and independent of the executive.
- Fair and appropriate court and tribunal fees that ensure access to justice.
- Initiatives to reduce trial delays in metropolitan courts and regional courts.
- Greater investment in dispute resolution and mediation services in regional communities.
- To ensure that judges, magistrates and tribunal members have tenure in order to protect their independence.
- The judicial selection process to encourage the broadest range of candidates, especially from communities not traditionally represented within the legal profession.
- Judicial officers to undergo cultural awareness training.
- To maintain, and where appropriate, expand specialist tribunals such as the Koori Court, the Drug Court and the specialist Family Violence Court.
- Introduction of Justice Impact Tests that assess the impact of new regulatory proposals on the overall justice system.
Access to Justice
- Secure funds for community legal centres and legal aid in both criminal and civil jurisdictions to ensure access to justice for all Victorians.
- Work closely with the Law Institute of Victoria to address the shortage of skilled lawyers in regional areas.
- Information about legal rights, responsibilities and processes to be made widely available online and through community legal education.
- Greater range of specialist services available at court to victims of family violence so as to provide an integrated response at their first point of contact with the justice system.
- To progress gun law reform, including prohibition of the possession and use of semi-automatic hand guns in the community.
- Providing support for the establishment of community programs managed at local level to increase the community engagement of those at risk of committing crime.
- Legislating to ensure triggers for special licence conditions on liquor licences are history of violence, levels of alcohol consumption, late night operations or patron numbers and not the presence of live or amplified music.
- Proper regulation of the liquor industry and night club industry, in particular resources for enforcement of liquor licensing and planning laws.
- CCTV installed only where an evidence based study demonstrates that crime will be reduced and other crime mitigation measures alone are not an effective option.
- Protective Services Officers to be removed from the public transport network and replaced by the restoration of sufficient numbers of transport staff to oversee the proper and safe management of transport networks.
- Regular patrols of police officers where identified as necessary within the transport network including on trains and trams.
- A comprehensive, multi-disciplinary and evidence-based approach to reduce crime by addressing the underlying causes of crime and recidivism.
- Implementation of alternatives to imprisonment, where appropriate, including restorative justice, diversionary programs and justice reinvestment strategies.
- Legislating diversion programs for young offenders in both urban and regional locations.
- Funding for Bail Support programs particularly in regional locations.
- Greater resourcing of Community Corrections Orders to allow more holistic rehabilitation to offenders, in particular providing access to Housing Programs as part of the Orders.
- All those held in Victorian prisons to have access to quality rehabilitation, education and training programs in an effort to reduce recidivism.
- Prison operations to be reviewed and updated to better manage people with intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries and mental illnesses.
- Provision for all prisoners eligible to be sentenced to a youth facility to also be held on remand at a youth facility.
- An end to the transfer of child prisoners into adult prisons.
- To uphold judicial discretion in sentencing and repeal mandatory sentencing legislation.
- The reintroduction of suspended sentences and home detention.
- Investment in the parole system, in particular transitional community housing, so prisoners are released from prison into a supportive and constructive environment.
- Detention powers, including those under the Terrorism Act, to be appropriately limited in accordance with basic principles of law such as habeas corpus, and an end to indefinite detention.
- Clarifying and extending the powers of IBAC and the Ombudsman to allow them to effectively investigate corruption, police misconduct and misconduct in public office.
- The introduction of spent convictions laws to prevent discrimination on the basis of a person’s criminal record.
- Reverting all privatised prisons to public ownership and control.
- Establishment of an independent statutory body to oversee prisons.
- The prohibition of racial profiling, and the arbitrary use of racial descriptors by police or other government agencies.
- To implement a prohibition on the use of electroshock weapons and Tasers; starting with disallowing their distribution to general duties police and restricting their use to situations where life is threatened.
- Ensuring well-funded and best-practice training and support to assist all police officers in dealing safely with difficult situations, such as those involving armed offenders, people with a mental illness and those under the influence of drugs.
- Training for all police officers to engage respectfully and effectively with complaints of family violence, sexual offences and child abuse.
- Establishment of an independent body to investigate deaths and serious injuries in police custody.
- An Independent Agency that collects and transparently reports crime statistics.
- Providing best-practice counselling and support services for all police officers and their families who have suffered trauma or injury in the course of police duties.