Justice Policy

PRINCIPLES

1. All Australians have a right to a safe and peaceful existence, free from crime and fear of violence.

2. The rule of law, the protection of human rights and access to justice for all people are fundamental to a democratic society.

3. The separation of powers between the judiciary on the one hand and the parliament and executive on the other is crucial to the maintenance of freedom, justice and democracy.

4. Equality before the law can only be achieved when there is recognition of the way in which cultural, social, gender and economic structures and practices influence decision making processes and affect people’s choices and opportunities.

5. Open, impartial and independent courts and proper legal representation are fundamental to the right to a fair hearing.

6. Access to justice requires policies and resources that overcome social, economic and cultural inequalities to ensure equality before the law.

7. Victorian law must address the particular cultural and social needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

8. Justice reinvestment in targeted communities to create a fairer and more inclusive society and reduce crime, rather than politically motivated law and order campaigns that exploit and fuel public anxieties.

9. Victims of crime should receive the necessary support required to facilitate recovery.

10. Reducing access to guns in the community is essential to reducing crime.

11. A fully staffed, effectively trained Police service with strong community links and a focus on maintaining a safe, peaceful and just society is essential.

12. Police should have adequate powers to protect the community but at the same time be accountable for the use of all powers.

13. Police should not be further militarised and militarisation that has occurred should be reversed.

14. Police should not investigate police.

AIMS

Access to Justice for All

1. To secure funds for community legal centres and legal aid in both criminal and civil jurisdictions to ensure access to justice for all Victorians.

2. To work closely with the Law Institute of Victoria to address the shortage of lawyers in regional areas.

3. Information about legal rights, responsibilities and processes to be made widely available online and through community legal education.

Justice Reinvestment

4. To provide support for the establishment of community programs managed at local level to increase the community engagement of those at risk of committing crime.

5. A comprehensive, multi-disciplinary and evidence-based approach to reducing crime by addressing the underlying causes of crime and recidivism.

Courts and Tribunals

6. Courts and tribunals that are well resourced.

7. Fair and appropriate court and tribunal fees.

8. Initiatives to reduce delays in metropolitan and regional courts.

9. Greater investment in dispute resolution and mediation services across Victoria.

10. To ensure that judges, magistrates and tribunal members retain tenure in order to protect their independence.

11. The judicial selection process to encourage the broadest range of candidates, especially from communities not traditionally represented within the legal profession.

12. Judicial officers to undergo gender sensitivity and cultural awareness training.

13. To maintain and expand specialist courts such as the Koori Court, the Drug Court, the Family Violence Division of the Magistrates’ Court, and Neighbourhood Justice Centres.

14. Introduction of Justice Impact Tests that assess the impact of new regulatory proposals on the overall justice system.

15. 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.

16. To increase compensation through Victims of Crime Assistance Tribunal (VOCAT).

Gender and the Law

17. To expand the definition of self-defence in cases of murder in domestic situations.

18. Improved and on-going training for all personnel in the justice system responding to domestic violence, rape and other gender related crimes.

19. Consensual adult sex work should be decriminalised.

Public Safety

20. Gun law reform, with reduced access to firearms, including prohibition of the possession and use of semi-automatic guns in the community.

21. Any person in control of a firearm should have zero blood alcohol content and not be under the influence of a drug.

22. Children under the age of 18 should not carry or use a firearm on public lands.

23. Legislating to ensure triggers for special licence conditions on liquor licences are: a history of violence, levels of alcohol consumption, late night operations or patron numbers and not the presence of live or amplified music.

24. Proper regulation of the liquor industry and night club industry, in particular resources for enforcement of liquor licensing and planning laws.

25. 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.

26. Protective Services Officers (PSOs) and Transit Police on the public transport network to be deployed by Police Command to where they are most needed in addition to the restoration of sufficient numbers of transport staff to oversee the proper and safe management of transport networks.

Smart Sentencing

27. Expand and properly fund alternatives to imprisonment including community corrections, restorative justice, and diversionary programs.

28. Legislating diversion programs for young offenders.

29. Funding for Bail Support programs particularly in regional locations.

30. To uphold judicial discretion in sentencing and repeal mandatory sentencing legislation.

31. The reintroduction of suspended sentences and home detention.

32. Detention without charge powers, including those used in counter-terrorism law, to be abolished.

33. The introduction of spent convictions laws to prevent discrimination on the basis of a person’s criminal record.

Corrections and Prisons

34. Greater funding for services and staffing to support Community Corrections Orders.

35. All those held in Victorian detention to have access to quality rehabilitation, education and training programs in an effort to reduce recidivism.

36. To provide a supportive and appropriate environment for parents in prison with their children.

37. Prison operations to be reviewed and updated to better care for and rehabilitate people with intellectual disabilities, acquired brain injuries and mental illnesses.

38. Provision for all prisoners eligible to be sentenced to a youth facility also to be held on remand at a youth facility.

39. A ban on the transfer of child prisoners into adult prisons.

40. Investment in the parole system, in particular transitional community housing, so prisoners are released from prison into a supportive and constructive environment.

41. Reverting all privatised prisons to public ownership and control.

42. Establishment of an independent statutory body to oversee prisons.

Integrity and Oversight Bodies

43. Clarifying and extending the powers of IBAC and the Ombudsman to allow them to effectively investigate corruption, police misconduct and misconduct in public office.

Police

44. Training and support to assist all police officers and PSOs in dealing safely with difficult situations, such as those involving armed offenders, people with a mental illness and those under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

45. Training for all police officers to engage respectfully and effectively with complaints of family violence, sexual offences and child abuse.

46. To provide counselling and support services for all police officers and PSOs and their families who have suffered trauma or injury in the course of police duties.

47. To prohibit racial profiling, and the arbitrary use of racial descriptors by police or other government agencies.

48. To prohibit the use of electroshock weapons and Tasers by general duties police and restricting their use to situations where life is threatened.

49. Establishment of an independent body to investigate deaths and serious injuries at the hands of police and protective services officers.

Justice Policy as amended by State Council on 17th May 2018.