After the weekend’s fatal crash which claimed the lives of a 14 and 15-year-old girl, the Opposition will today (11 October) renew its pleas for the government to commission an independent review of sentencing and bail in the Territory.
The girls died after the vehicle they were travelling in crashed on the Monaro Highway near Hume.
The 16-year-old boy who was allegedly driving the vehicle has been charged with two counts of culpable driving causing death, as well as being in breach of bail and a good behaviour order.
He was yesterday formally refused bail.
In recent weeks, the Canberra Liberals, the police union, victims of crime including Tom McLuckie, and even a government backbencher, have called for a review of – among other things – sentencing and bail.
Around 7000 Canberrans have recently signed petitions organised by Mr McLuckie whose son Matthew was killed in a crash on Hindmarsh Avenue earlier this year.
Those petitions, which will be tabled by Mr Hanson in the Assembly today, call for sentencing guidelines for reckless motor vehicle crimes, a review of ACT sentencing and a review of judicial appointments.
Opposition spokesperson for police Jeremy Hanson said this tragic event has further highlighted the necessity of a review.
“How many times do we need to see serious crimes being committed by offenders out on bail before the Attorney-General acts?” Mr Hanson asked.
“We see too many perpetrators out on bail committing other violent offences and this tragic event on the weekend is just yet another example that clearly shows the system is not working as it should.”
Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury has pushed back against a full-scale review. He’s argued it would have an “unclear purpose” as other pieces of work were already underway.
Last week, Mr Rattenbury announced a Law and Sentencing Advisory Council would be created as a “lasting mechanism” to examine areas of potential law reform.
But this was seen as nothing but a “toothless tiger” by advocates, including Mr McLuckie.
Mr Rattenbury will this morning face a motion of no-confidence moved by Mr Hanson over his refusal to commit to this review.
This will be the fifth no-confidence motion moved by the Canberra Liberals this electoral term.
Those debates can be lengthy and will likely use up a large proportion of the Assembly’s morning sitting block – which only stretches for two hours.
The motion will not remove the Attorney-General from his position as Labor and Greens MLAs are bound by their Parliamentary and Governing Agreement not to vote for Opposition motions of no-confidence (and also not to move one of their own).
They can only do so in “instances of proven corruption, conduct that threatens public confidence in the integrity of government or public administration, gross negligence, or significant and intentional non-adherence to this agreement”.