Attempting to prove

Written in 2007

The Chief Minister of the Northern Territory and the Premier of Western Australia deserve accolades for their forbearance in dealing with the ill-informed demands for tougher sentencing they themselves have created. They have shown through their mandatory sentencing policies that they can eliminate, by encouraged suicide, those who might continue to carry out minor property offences such as pencil stealing and biscuit pilfering.

The Premier and the Chief Minister have an ally in John Howard, who confronted by the fact that mandatory sentencing laws breach international human rights covenants and conventions, has declared the rest of the world should keep its nose out of Australia’s business.

Both the Premier and the Chief Minister have claimed their legislation does not discriminate on the grounds of race despite overwhelming evidence which demonstrates that young Aboriginal people are disproportionately jailed as a consequence of Western Australian and Territory mandatory sentencing laws.

Both these men have not defended mandatory sentencing on the grounds that it is a:

  • deterrent to further offences,
  • reduces the prevalence of crime, or
  • is cost effective.

They were unable to employ such arguments because there is too much evidence available to negate such claims.

The justification both these men have provided for persevering with mandatory sentencing is that the public wants it. The public want honest politicians, lower taxes , more services, less red tape, more holidays , lower interest rates, higher pay, a decent social security system, less unemployment and many other things which they are unlikely to ever get.

I am concerned that eventually mandatory sentencing in both these places will go the way of the dinosaurs. Therefore it is important for all members of the Flat Earth Society to join with me in offering solutions to the Premier and the Chief Minister.

In order to ensure they are in a position to capitalise upon public hysteria about crime I suggest they give full consideration to introducing two new crimes, namely:

  • Attempting to prove innocence
  • Failing to plead guilty as charged.

Such charges should be sufficient to keep their prisons full, if vigorously applied.