Children and Justice Legislation Amendment (Youth Justice Reform) Bill 2017 | Sue Pennicuik

Children and Justice Legislation Amendment (Youth Justice Reform) Bill 2017

I would like to say that we really cannot understand why the government actually brought this bill forward before the report from the Legal and Social Issues Committee on this particular issue has been finished and tabled, because the whole point of that inquiry was to better inform the legislative framework for this very important area, which impacts on the lives of young people every day.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - 11:30am
Speaker:
Sue Pennicuik

Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) — I rise to speak briefly on the Children and Justice Legislation Amendment (Youth Justice Reform) Bill 2017. My colleague Ms Springle comprehensively outlined our concerns with the bill in her contribution to debate during the last sitting week. We do agree there are some useful parts in the bill that we would support, such as the youth diversion programs; clause 6, which provides for a consistent magistrate to oversee criminal proceedings against children; and also clause 31, which would require officers to make reports of any incidents involving the use of physical force or isolation.

However, we were never going to vote for the bill, and we had drawn up some amendments to clauses which we thought really did need amending in some way to improve the bill. But after discussions we have decided to not proceed with those amendments and in fact to just not support the bill, because we believe it is fundamentally flawed. Despite there being some aspects of it which we would support, they are outnumbered by the very large number of aspects of it which we cannot support.

I would like to also say that we really cannot understand why the government actually brought this bill forward before the report from the Legal and Social Issues Committee on this particular issue has been finished and tabled, because the whole point of that inquiry was to better inform the legislative framework for this very important area, which impacts on the lives of young people every day.

As I said, I will not go into the points that have been made already by my colleague Ms Springle, but it has been only a day or so since the Ogloff-Armytage report was tabled and nobody has had sufficient time to really consider that either. That report also could have informed the bill. So the bill has been introduced, the inquiry has not been finished and a 700-plus-page report was tabled only recently. No-one has had time to consider that report.

The major issue we have concerns our fundamental problems with the bill. With all I have said up until now, we would like to put on the record that we will support the reasoned amendment put forward by Ms Crozier, that:

… this bill be withdrawn and part 3 redrafted so that certain of the proposed additional powers in part 3 be instead made available for existing orders for young offenders.

That is how the reasoned amendment reads, but I want to put very clearly on the record that if a bill were to come back with part 3 redrafted so that certain of the proposed additional powers in part 3 were instead made available for existing orders for young offenders, we would not support that. We would not support that part of the reasoned amendment. We do support that part of the reasoned amendment that seeks that the bill be withdrawn, and as I said, we would support that it be informed by the report of the inquiry and by other evidence that is available. This important area of legislation that impacts on young people every day of their lives needs to be based on evidence of best practice and what works for young people. That is not what this bill delivers, and that is why we will support it being withdrawn.