Mandatory sentences for child sex offences has been voted down by the state's upper house for the second time in three years.
The bill, that would have imposed minimum sentences of between two years and four years for sexual intercourse with a young person under aggravating circumstances through to rape, was defeated seven votes to five.
Independent MLCs Rosemary Armitage, Ivan Dean, and Tania Rattray voted with with government members.
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The government agreed to a pair for absent independent member Meg Webb.
The bill would have imposed a term of:
- four years' imprisonment for the rape of a victim under 17 years old
- four years' imprisonment maintaining a sexual relationship with a young person where rape occurred;
- three years' imprisonment for the crime of maintaining a sexual relationship with a young person under aggravating circumstances;
- two years' imprisonment for the crime of sexual intercourse with a young person under aggravating circumstances.
The bill also sought to impose a minimum of six months imprisonment for serious bodily harm to an on-duty frontline worker.
Hobart independent Rob Valentine, a survivor of child sexual abuse, said his stance against the bill remained the same as it did in 2017.
"I can identify with those people that feel aggrieved and carry a burden through their lives, but there is nothing I want more than true justice to be applied," he said.
Launceston independent MLC Rosemary Armitage said even though she saw issues with the legislation, she supported it.
"I question whether mandatory sentencing leans too far the wrong way and what implications that has on the confidence we invest in our judiciary," she said.
Labor have a longheld position against the imposition of mandatory sentences.
Labor's Sarah Lovell said the prospect of mandatory sentences on child sex offenders would likely make alleged perpetrators make more pleas of not guilty.
This would then put victims through the trauma of a trial, she said.
Ms Lovell said the state's Sentencing Advisory Council in 2015 had found mandatory sentences had no impact on the rate of offending.
Beyond Abuse chief executive Steve Fisher in a letter to Legislative Council members said the bill had the potential to greatly influence public perception of sexual abuse.
"We believe that this bill will give sentencing judges and magistrates the confidence to give more realistic sentences," he said.
"Currently they err on the side of caution as their concern is if they give a more realistic sentence, it may well be overturned on appeal as perpetrators can argue that it is manifestly excessive compared to previous sentences."
Attorney-General Elise Archer after the vote vowed to bring the legislation before Parliament again.
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