| June 19, 2017

Crime in Victoria

The sheer fact is that Victorians are now feeling the full brunt of having had a Labor Party in the state of Victoria as government over 14 of the last 18 years. So this concept that somehow or other Labor are not soft on crime and that Labor are somehow putting in place magistrates that are dealing with community expectations is absolutely laughable. The fact is that no Victorians feel safe in their homes, especially in those eastern suburbs. People in Victoria feel unsafe in their cars and even walking down the street. What has happened is that there is this very small but very dangerous cohort of youth throughout Victoria—the eastern suburbs of Melbourne particularly, but sometimes in the western suburbs—conducting their raids in this totally unlawful and absolutely carefree manner, with absolutely no regard for the law. We see that so many of these perpetrators have been released on bail for previous crimes. This is a theme that has happened time after time, where people are arrested for committing some horrendous crime and then we find that they had been released on bail for other crimes. The community response is that it is simply unbelievable that these people could be walking the streets as free people.

The biggest issue is that the Labor Party, both here and in Victoria, do not think that there is a problem with the crime wave that is currently going through Victoria. They do not think it is an issue that so many of these perpetrators have been let out on bail and also that there are these amazing, lenient sentences that are totally outside of what we would call normal community expectations. Attorney-General after Attorney-General has appointed magistrates to the bar in Victoria for 14 of the last 18 years. It is no wonder that we have this most-worrying situation where the sentences that are handed down in the state of Victoria so often do not meet community expectations.

The other fact that I know first hand, because of my experience in the Victorian state parliament, is that the state Labor Party have to be pulled, kicking and screaming, to put extra police on the job. Going to the last election, the coalition put forward a policy to put on some 2,000 extra police. The Labor Party put forward 300 to 400 extra back-office staffers as their law and order policy and their contribution to fighting crime. It was a totally inadequate response to what was happening in the real world. The Labor Party ridiculed the protective services officers throughout Victoria, the 940 PSOs who were employed to look after our train stations from six o'clock every evening until they knocked off with the last train. The Labor Party thought they were a great joke and ridiculed them at every opportunity, calling them plastic policeman and wondering what they were going to do when they saw somebody committing a crime.

Of course, the Labor Party get themselves in the situation where they do not know what to do with their own policies when they find themselves in government. The 300 or 400 back-office staffers that were supposed to fix the whole problem of the Victorian police force—the statistics of some of the crimes against individuals show stark increases. The extent and damaging nature of some of these crimes are quite horrendous. The lack of respect and any regard that we see with the youth prisons at Parkville and also at Malmsbury is quite staggering. Then we have a Labor Party in the federal parliament and a Labor Party in the state government who refuse to acknowledge that there is a problem at all. And we wonder why motions like this get up. I commend the member for Goldstein for his motion

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