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Calamity would follow criminal age change

Jul 6, 2023

More than 2,500 young criminals, indicted for crimes that involve violence, robbery and drug use, would walk scot-free each year if Queensland advocates for raising the criminal age of responsibility got their way, Katter’s Australian Party Leader and Traeger MP Robbie Katter has warned.

Mr Katter said, during the 2021-22 financial year children aged 10 to 13 faced the Queensland Childrens Court on 2,757 cases – some individuals may have presented multiple times.

Figures for the 2022-23 period have yet to be released.

The Traeger MP, whose hometown of Mount Isa has been ravaged by out-of-control youth crime in recent years, said criminals were getting younger and the nature of crimes getting worse.

This week the Palaszczuk Labor Government is rolling out 900 subsidy vouchers for the installation of engine immobilisers across the community, which has a population of just 20,000 but averages between 200-300 cars stolen a year.

This is in addition to 9,000 vouchers being rolled out in Townsville and 8,000 in Cairns.

Mr Katter said the figures, recently released by the Attorney-General’s office in response to a Question on Notice, ere a stark reminder of the dangers of loosening long-observed age of criminal responsibility norms.

“The Greens have agitated for the raising of the criminal age of responsibility for many years and this is to be expected from a party that operates on the fringes and receives the majority of its support from the most affluent suburbs of the State,” he said.

“What’s concerning is that the Labor Party, which now runs Canberra and every single State Government across the country save for Tasmania, is increasingly spearheading this change.

“Labor’s Victorian, Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory Governments are all raising their criminal age of responsibility, shockingly to 14 in the south and 12 over in the NT.

“The former Queensland Attorney General was sympathetic to a move to 12, but her replacement has recently re-affirmed it would stay at 10 – but for how long?

“In little over 12 months we will have a new government in Queensland, and whether that be a Labor or LNP Government – or one that the KAP holds control in – this debate will commence again.

“One thing I can assure is that the KAP will never support any of these moves – we believe our criminal justice system, including our juvenile justice system, must prioritise victims over perpetrators.”

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