THE Law Society says the state government's tough on crime agenda is starting to crumble, after a policy central to its justice reforms was shot down in the Legislative Council.
MLCs blocked government legislation on Wednesday night that would have slapped criminals with an additional fee during sentencing as a way of raising $2.4million in three years.
Premier Will Hodgman said he was disappointed MPs who opposed the legislation "feel that criminals shouldn't make a contribution to the significant cost of running the criminal justice system and that instead the full cost should be carried by law-abiding taxpayers".
Mr Hodgman said the government had delivered on its commitment to implement mandatory sentences for assaults on police, had the toughest workplace protection laws in the country and was making treatment for sex offenders compulsory before they were considered for parole.
But Law Society of Tasmania president Matthew Verney said the bill blocked on Wednesday was "only ever a tax" and the government was continuing to get it wrong on justice.
"Let's devise something that will actually have a good impact on decreasing offending rates," Mr Verney said.
The government faces further battles in progressing its anti-crime agenda, with the Law Society opposing mandatory sentences for child sex offenders, and the scrapping of suspended sentences.
Its protest legislation was watered down by the Legislative Council last year, and wide opposition to defamation laws allowing corporations to sue saw the government abandon them.
"The reality is, when you break down their policies and look at them one by one, they are policies that just don't work," Mr Verney said.
"All it is, is trying to garner support from the conservative end of the community," he said.
Mr Verney said the government was ignoring sectors of the community "that actually know what they are talking about", such as the Sentencing Advisory Council.
Australian Lawyers Alliance state president Henry Pill said the "making criminals pay" bill was unfair on the most vulnerable.
"There are smart ways of making our community safer, like the Mental Health Diversion Program, which has been a great success," Mr Pill said.
"We'd like to see the government invest more in programs like that, rather than unfair, punitive measures," he said.
Greens justice spokeswoman Rosalie Woodruff said the government should stop playing politics with the state's justice system.
"The Liberals' attempt to introduce a user-pays levy on Tasmanian courts was so unjust it has even been rejected by the conservative Legislative Council," Dr Woodruff said.