Labor’s proposed bail reform Bill is a case of false advertising, according to Leader of the Opposition Lia Finocchiaro.
“This Bill is not what was advertised in the media release and the announcement by Chief Minister Natasha Fyles yesterday,” Mrs Finocchiaro said.
“Labor is using deliberately tricky wording to hide the fact the Bill, you can see it is far from being in line with community expectations.”
Presumption of no bail, under Labor’s Bill, would only apply when two specific criteria were both met – it would have to be a serious violent offence AND it would have to involve a “controlled or prohibited weapon”.
Far from the more generic “with a weapon” that Natasha Fyles and her Attorney-General announced, controlled and prohibited weapons are specifically listed in the Weapons Control Act.
Mrs Finocchiaro said these included items such as a knife, a crossbow, and nunchucks.
“Natasha Fyles’ changes to bail deliberately do not include the more commonly used weapons in violent attacks, such as a rock, star picket, broken bottle, car, or screwdriver,” she said.
“Alice Springs truck driver, Matt Page, wasn’t blinded in one eye because of nunchucks, it was a rock thrown through his window,” Mrs Finocchiaro said.
“Not far from the bottle shop where Declan Laverty was killed, a security guard only hours earlier was not smashed in the head with a crossbow – it was a rum bottle.
“Territorians are experiencing crimes where offenders are using weapons of opportunity – common items that criminals can get their hands on with ease.”
The Opposition today introduced an amendment to Labor’s Bill that removed the presumption of bail for any violent offender, whether a weapon was involved or not.
“If Labor really wanted to deliver on community expectations, they would support our amendment,” Mrs Finocchiaro said.
“For Labor, this is an exercise in saving face, not saving lives, with the Attorney-General admitting Labor’s Bill ‘may’ increase the number of people on remand.
“Labor knows their changes ‘may’ not keep violent offenders behind bars at all.”