New Queensland laws suppress human rights
It's "Clayton's" mandatory sentencing! Under the Queensland Labor Government's proposed new legislation, the Corrective Services Bill 2000, the role of judges and magistrates in determining appropriate sentencing will be severely limited, and the right of the press to report on the imprisonment of Aboriginal people is to be eliminated. The legislation, which embodies the worst aspects of the Western Australian and Northern Territory mandatory sentencing regimes and the Federal Government's illegal immigrant's policies, allows for prisoners to be released from prison without rehabilitation or support. Mr Ian Delaney, State Coordinator of the Queensland Aboriginal and Islander Legal Services Secretariat (QAILLS) commented: "Queenslanders will end up paying more taxes to build prisons, and ... run the prisons. Perhaps even worse, prisoners will be released into the suburbs without proper rehabilitation having been provided, and no help to stop their re-offending behaviour, thereby exposing the community to greater risk." The legislation would also strip magistrates and judges of the power to determine appropriate sentencing for those charged with offences incurring penalties of less than two years imprisonment. Mr Delaney stated: "With the power of judges and magistrates taken away in this fashion, what you are left with is a situation tantamount to another form of mandatory sentencing." He added that the timing of the legislation, to coincide with the Olympics, was not a coincidence. Yes, it's mandatory sentencing in all but name — and with restrictions on press freedom thrown in. Newspapers reporting Aboriginal rates of incarceration and matters relating to imprisonment of Aboriginal people (for example, deaths in custody) are to be prosecuted under the new laws. This obviously has major implications for the administration of law in Australia, because if Australian governments succeed in suppressing comments regarding Aboriginal imprisonment, it's just a matter of time before they attempt to suppress criticism of any sort.