Weak laws made even weaker, Labor’s Youth Crime laws crumble in Parliament

In an extraordinary development, the Palaszczuk Labor Government’s youth crime laws have crumbled on the floor of Parliament.

In a bombshell admission during the long-awaited debate, Labor has revealed the Palaszczuk Government will not deliver the laws they promised to Queenslanders.

Until it was exposed by the LNP, the Palaszczuk Labor Government deliberately failed to mention their 10-point plan would not override a basic sentencing provision in the Youth Justice Act, severely watering down Labor’s so-called “tough” laws.

Under intense public pressure to act on the escalating youth crime crisis, on the 29th December 2022, Annastacia Palaszczuk specifically promised Queenslanders her new laws would mean:

Violent juvenile car thieves will face 14 years’ jail in a suit of increased penalties aimed squarely at keeping the community safe.”

Queenslanders can read the Premier’s promise in black and white for themselves here.

However, during Parliamentary debate the Palaszczuk Labor Government has now backtracked on their promise, after it was revealed and confirmed Labor’s new laws would not override section 175 of the Youth Justice Act.

Section 175 of the Youth Justice Act states:

  • Under a Magistrate, juvenile criminals can only be imprisoned to a maximum of one year.
  • Under a Judge, juvenile criminals can only be imprisoned to a maximum of five years.
  • In serious cases, juveniles can only be sentenced to half of the maximum sentence applied to adults.

Shadow Minister for Police and Corrective Services Dale Last said the Palaszczuk Labor Government had talked tough to Queenslanders, but it was all a lie.

“The promise Premier Palaszczuk made to Queenslanders in black and white has been exposed as a blatant lie,” Mr Last said.

“The Premier was talking tough but now we know she was being deliberately deceitful about her laws to save her political skin,” Mr Last said.

“These weak laws have crumbled under the bright glare of Parliament and simply do not stand up to scrutiny.

“Once again, the Premier is all about the announcement, without any concern about the detail or delivering her promise.

“She has deliberately misled Queenslanders in the middle of a crisis, at a time when our State needed genuine leadership.

“It’s now blatantly obvious that this was an idea drawn up on the back of a napkin, designed to look tough, before the Premier jetted off to Paris. “The Premier didn’t turn up to work for Queenslanders when they needed her in January and she hasn’t turned up to Parliament with the laws we need now.

“This is a blatant broken promise and the Premier must explain to Queenslanders why she’s misled them so badly.”

The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s cobbled-together 10-point plan has barely limped across the line to become law tonight.

It’s been revealed the Premier’s black-and-white promise about “tough” maximum sentences of 14 years for violent juvenile offenders wasn’t worth the paper it was written on, and was a blatant lie all along.

Premier Palaszczuk’s legislation has crumbled under the glare of Parliament, reinforcing the LNP’s reservations the measures will have very little impact on the Youth Crime epidemic.

Queenslanders deserved laws that would keep them safe, the Palaszczuk Labor Government has not delivered that tonight.  

Queenslanders wanted genuine leadership and strong laws, they got neither.  

The most significant measure to make it through this week was the one thing that the Palaszczuk Labor Government fought against for two years – breach of bail.

The LNP’s Breach of Bail policy has been adopted word for word by the Palaszczuk Labor Government and tonight became law. 

The LNP is doing more governing from Opposition than a tired Palaszczuk Labor Government which is devoid of the vision and policies Queenslanders deserve.

It is the firm view of the LNP Opposition that detention as a last resort must be removed from the Youth Justice Act, to work hand-in-hand with Breach of Bail.

The Palaszczuk Labor Government chose not to support that in Parliament.

The LNP also believes gold standard intervention is vital to curbing the Youth Crime epidemic and is committed to building a full youth crime framework that will keep Queenslanders safe.

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