Siyavash Doostkhan reports that our friends at Youth Affairs Network Queensland have something to celebrate – witness to the truth that the struggle isn’t easy and is often long. In these difficult times victories are precious.
NO MORE CHILDREN IN ADULT PRISONS
After 20 years of campaigning by YANQ and other advocacy organisations, we finally convinced the state government to change the laws that allowed 17 year-old children to be locked up in adult prisons.
Just before 10pm on 3rd November 2016, the Youth Justice and Other Legislation (Inclusion of 17 year-old persons) Amendment Bill was passed by the House.
The Bill will increase the upper age of a child from 16 to 17 years and establish a regulation-making power to transfer 17 year-olds from the adult criminal justice system to the youth justice system.
With Labor and the Liberal National Party [LNP] tied on 40 votes for yes and 40 votes for no, it came down to the crossbenchers to pass the Bill.
Katter’s Australian Party MPs took opposing sides, with Robbie Katter supporting Labor in getting 17 year-olds out of adult prisons and Shane Knuth voting with the LNP.
Independents Rob Pyne and Billy Gordon also supported the government.
YANQ would like to congratulate the Labor Government, independents Rob Pyne, Billy Gordon and Robbie Katter for their ethical stance on this important legislation which brings Queensland inline with other Australian States and Territories and meets our obligation under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Two decades of agitating, education and organising by YANQ members across the state ensured the passage of this legislation in Queensland’s parliament. It was unfortunate that the LNP did not approach this issue in a bipartisan manner and reverted to their backward stance of being Queensland’s law and order hairy chested stalwarts.