MANDATORY minimum sentences, as championed by Attorney-General Elise Archer in (The Examiner, June 23), are always wrong.
What is proposed is that highly experienced judges and magistrates who hear the entire case should be overruled by politicians, many of whom know nothing of the law having educational, business and general employment backgrounds: not one retired judge or magistrate among them.
When mandatory minimums are suggested we are asked to imagine the worst offenders.
Judges are then compelled to apply sentences appropriate for that cohort to the least egregious offenders.
In the case of sexual abuse mentioned in the article, a judge would be compelled to apply a jail sentence to an 18-year-old boy after the father of his 15-year-old girlfriend complains to police forcing charges to be laid.
That is a case which would also come under the same legislation meant to target middle-aged sexual predators who groom innocent children for their own perverse ends.
And so that is why mandatory minimum sentences are wrong.
Leave sentencing decisions to the experts and away from well-meaning amateurs in elected positions.
THIS is the energy recession we just had to have. Most likely it will trigger an economic one as well.
But we can't complain; we were advised the overriding responsibility of our electricity market was and always will be to ensure security of supply.
Nothing, including carbon reductions, can ever be allowed to compromise this.
But somehow something did which allowed uncertain electricity generations to take priority over reliable ones by manipulating the spot price mechanism in the wholesale electricity market.
Voila, this is how to create a perfect storm. Most of the manipulation centred around having a low duration period for spot price contracts. This gave a big advantage to intermittent generators, all of which are incapable of signing off on contracts greater than durations of just a very few hours.
Of course, this seriously compromised the ability to ensure supply security. I guess it seemed a good idea at the time, just like the one during the Gordon Dam crisis.
PEACEFUL public protest is a wonderful right Australians are fortunate to exercise.
The right to hold an opinion, stand on a street corner with a big sign and express yourself as you wish with few restrictions is the true hallmark of freedom and democracy.
For more than 2000 Tasmanian parents with children in "out-of-home care", adversarial closed courts, media bans and mandatory anonymity are standard.
Peaceful public protest is one way we can alert the public to questionable, secretive child protection practices.
Starved of oxygen of publicity, democracy and transparency suffer.
Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers".
I support Premier Rockliff's move to increase the lower house to 35 seats but not curtailing our rights to peaceful public protest.
IT'S totally concerning that our road toll has reached unacceptable levels.
The promise of an increased visible presence of traffic police will help, but only to a certain degree. Equally, may I say that police in unmarked cars are also a good deterrent.
Anyone driving these days will see the idiot driver constantly putting others at risk through their behaviour.
We need to reduce our speed levels, introduce cameras in black zones (not just for revenue as presently), stop the car advertisements on TV that always show speed as a sales component and for repeat offenders, confiscate their cars and sell them, with the revenue received given to driver education in schools.
The court system also needs an overhaul in regards to increased penalties for repeat and serious offenders who again re-offend and cause death and injury to the innocent.
Driving must be seen as a privilege and not a right.
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