Vigilantism still a threat under soft laws

Feb 8, 2021

Vigilantism still a threat under soft laws

Feb 8, 2021

THE State Labor Government had multiple opportunities to get tough on criminals in order to prevent people taking the law into their own hands, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto. 

Mr Dametto said members of the community had “for years” raised their concerns about potential acts of vigilantism taking place as the government continued to do little to solve North Queensland’s escalating crime crisis. 

“Whether it was social media, traditional media or people approaching me direct, there was a strong sense Townsville and the broader region was a powder keg waiting to explode,” he said. 

“I warned the government about the very real possibility of people taking matters into their own hands on multiple occasions, including as recently as last week during a meeting I had with the Youth Justice Minister. 

“I believe Katter’s Australian Party’s relocation sentencing policy can make up part of the solution, but up until now it’s been dismissed by Ministers saying, “boot camps don’t work”. This demonstrates quite clearly that the Ministers have not even read our policy document. That’s the disappointing part, in their eyes if it is not a Labor idea, it’s no good.  

“That type arrogance and a failure to listen to the community has resulted in four innocent lives being taken as a result of the government’s inaction. If the laws don’t change, I fear that community frustration will continue to spill over.” 

Mr Dametto demanded the government strengthen the Youth Justice Act and bail laws in the first sitting week of parliament this month, or otherwise face the KAP moving a motion for a vote of no confidence in the government. 

“This carnage on our streets needs to stop now. There’s no difference between a teenager driving a stolen vehicle down the wrong side of the road as a weapon than someone standing in the middle of a mall with a butcher’s knife,” he said. 

Mr Dametto said the Premier, Attorney-General, Youth Justice Minister and the Police Minister “should lock themselves up in a room for the next two weeks to come up with a solution”.  

“Innocent people have lost their lives. What more will it take for the State Government to turn this situation around in a hurry?” he said. 

“We’ll also be calling on the Attorney-General and the Youth Justice Minister to write to magistrates requesting they deny bail to anyone whose been charged with unlawful use of a motor vehicle until new legislation has been passed to get these kids and adult offenders off the streets. 

“Someone else is going to die if something’s not done.”