Member for Hinchinbrook Nick Dametto. Picture: Evan Morgan
Member for Hinchinbrook Nick Dametto. Picture: Evan Morgan

‘Do the crime, do the time’: MP fires up over raising age

The age of criminal responsibility will remain at 10 years old for at least another year after a landmark meeting between the state's attorney generals was not resolved.

Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto disagreed with the fight to "raise the age", saying those who do the crime are old enough to do time in detention.

Doctors, legal experts and human rights groups have been part of a national campaign to increase the age of criminal responsibility to 14 to bring it in line with other countries.

The issue was discussed at Monday's meeting of the Council of Attorneys-General but any decision has been deferred to next year to figure out alternatives to imprisonment.

Katter Australia Party MP Nick Dametto. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.
Katter Australia Party MP Nick Dametto. PICTURE: MATT TAYLOR.

Mr Dametto said the proposal did not meet community expectations.

"(It) will just mean 10 to 13 year old offenders will have a few more years to steal cars, vandalise and assault people with no real consequences," he said.

Instead, he spruiked Katter's Australian Party's relocation policy where offenders would do stints of "hard labour" on a remote farm.

"Relocation sentencing can break the cycle of youth crime before offenders become career

criminals," he said.

"It will give these juveniles a purpose through the ability to learn respect for themselves and others."

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare states there were almost 600 children aged between 10 and 13 years old in detention in the last financial year.

More than 60 per cent were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children.

New research from Change the Record claims most Queenslanders support raising the age of criminal responsibility, despite a clear push back from many members of the Townsville community.

Executive officer Sophie Trevitt said children deserved compassion.

"We can all agree that children need care, love and support as they are growing up, not handcuffs and prisons," she said.

"Locking up children as young as ten years old can cause serious harm to a child's health and development and makes it more likely that they will get stuck in the quicksand of the criminal justice system."

The discussions come weeks after a 14-year-old recidivist offender was charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death when the alleged stolen car he was driving crashed and killed three teens.

The boy was on bail at the time of the crash and had been known to police since he was 11 years old.

Originally published as 'Do the crime, do the time': MP fires up over raising age



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