Corrections Amendment (Parole) Bill 2018

Written on the 26 July 2018

26 July 2018

COUNCIL 

Second reading 

GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)

 

I too rise to speak on the Corrections Amendment (Parole) Bill 2018.

In hearing Mr Finn's concluding remarks I am reminded of the occasions that I have with other colleagues Mr O'Donohue, the Leader of the Opposition and others attended those blue ribbon memorial service days at the police memorial in St Kilda Road which, as Mr Finn does highlight, is a very sobering memorial for those police men and women who have died in the line of duty. It is the reason we are discussing this bill today, because it was Constable Angela Taylor who tragically died on 20 April 1986 after the police headquarters at Russell Street was car bombed by Craig Minogue. In the horrendous bombing that occurred there were some 22 other people who were injured.

I note that in sentencing Craig Minogue, Justice Vincent said, and I quote:

" . . . this event involved the commission of one of the most serious criminal actions ever to take place in this community.

And he said:

"It is clear that in your hatred and contempt for this society and its institutions, you, Mr Taylor, and you, Mr Minogue, participated in behaviour recognised in so many other parts of the world as an act of war.

This is really at the heart of this horrendous activity that went on 32 years ago, and I certainly remember it. I had just finished my nurse training and I remember it very, very clearly, because I knew the impact that it would have on so many people in both the public health system and also, obviously and tragically, those police men and women who were serving at the time. It still ricochets to this day, and we are still discussing this horrendous crime. That is the case for this bill, but it was Mr O'Donohue who highlighted this issue on 7 December 2016 when he introduced his private members bill. The overview of the bill was to amend the Corrections Act 1986 to limit the circumstances in which the Adult Parole Board of Victoria may order the release on parole of Craig Minogue, who was convicted of that horrendous murder from the Russell Street bombing and sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 28 years.

That, as other members have said, was two years ago. Of course in trying to play catch-up politics again the government rushed a bill in, and it was a flawed bill. It was questioned by the High Court, and all the legalities that have stemmed from that have been shown up. It indicates again just how inadequate the government's response has been in law and order on so many issues and where they have played catch-up time and time again. We have had a number of private members bills in here, including one similar to this one a very important bill and one that should have been passed over two years ago. The government should not have been playing politics with it. In their belligerent status they wanted to put, as others have said, politics before people, and they botched it. They are very good at botching it; they have done it time and time again with so many other issues. But it was Mr O'Donohue who took the initiative in highlighting this issue and addressing it and introducing the private members bill into this place. The arrogance of the government to disregard it just stems in so many forms from their actions on so many other issues, as I have said.

Mr O'Donohue has put in a number of other private member bills making police car rammings an offence; no body, no parole, just to name a few and again the government has played catch-up and followed. They are so behind on community expectations, and the community is awake to this. The government are now trying to be tough on law and order and they will try and take credit for this bill going through. They should be putting people before their political actions. They should have put this bill through two years ago, and it just beggars belief how misguided they are trying to come late to the party on the eve of an election to try and con the Victorian community into thinking they are tough on crime. They have been hopeless. You have been absolutely inadequate in your responses to community expectations. That is why we have introduced so many private members bills to deal with these issues. Again you are still in denial about so many issues, including youth gangs and crimes. Everybody knows that there are gangs in the Victorian community that are causing very serious crimes.

An honourable member Daniel Andrews doesn't.

Ms CROZIER Well, Daniel Andrews is trying to hide from the truth in a number of areas, and it is in this area as well.

An honourable member Yes. He doesn't like the truth much.

Ms CROZIER No, he doesn't like the truth, and he has been exposed for the flawed Premier that he is. In fact, he has been a disgrace. He should hang his head in shame because of the way he has overseen this government rorting the Victorian taxpayer. You know, trying to send the rorts to the High Court again, spending $1 million to prevent the Ombudsman investigating your behaviour the behaviour of 21 of your MPs that have been caught up in this rorts scheme. It is an absolute disgrace, and I hear that in question time today he is still denying the facts in so many areas where he should come clean with the truth. As Victorians know, he cannot lie straight in bed.

To get back to this very important debate I do not want to deviate with the concerns of the Premier today because it is far too important a debate to get into that side of things this is about protecting the Victorian community. As Mr O'Donohue and others have said, of course we will be supporting this bill. Mr O'Donohue was the key architect of the first bill, which this one mimics, and we need to get it through speedily, but it has been another demonstration of how hopeless in the management of priorities this government has been.

They have taken over two years to bring this important legislation back, and they have come in this week expecting us to rush things through. They have been hopeless with the government business program. We will be sitting on Fridays and we sat on Saturday in the last sitting week because this government have got their priorities all wrong. They are putting through bills that have not protected the community. They are putting bills through for their own political expediency. This bill should have been drafted earlier actually, Mr O'Donohue's bill should have been supported back in December of 2016.

As I said, the government has been really slow and it just has not understood the community's expectations when it comes to a whole range of issues in dealing with crime. We have seen that with the reversal of the juvenile bail laws and the terrible circumstances in which we find ourselves with youth crime out of control. We have got some very serious issues going on in youth justice. The minister herself a few years ago described the supermax as being a Don Dale. This week it has been exposed again, just the conditions that are prevailing in the youth justice system, where youth justice rehabilitation and education for young offenders is not even happening.

To say that the youth justice system is working is a complete farce, and the minister knows and Victorians know that she has failed dismally in her ability to manage the youth justice system. We have had multiple very serious situations which have come out of both Parkville and Malmsbury, and of course we have seen what has been revealed in the media this week in terms of Grevillea and some of those issues that have occurred under her watch. Again, there have been rushed decisions and botched legal actions. Again it just shows how out of depth both Minister Tierney and Minister Mikakos have been when it comes to dealing with these very serious and important law and order issues for the state of Victoria.

Quite frankly, Victorians deserve better than that. They actually want to feel that the community is safe. The first responsibility of any government is to keep their citizens safe. This government has failed in that. The perception and the reality out there are that there are some very serious offences going on and this government has not had any ability to handle them. This bill is coming into the house for debate today at this late time after the initial awareness of what was going on with Craig Minogue. I note, as I think Mr Finn said, it was the minister who referred to Craig Minogue as 'Dr' Craig Minogue. In fact I will just quote from her second-reading speech:

The main purpose of the bill is to enhance community safety by clarifying the application of the strict parole laws for prisoners convicted of murdering a police officer, including the prisoner Dr Craig Minogue.

Again:

The government will ensure that Dr Minogue and other prisoners who murder police officers are not released on parole.

He does not deserve that degree of recognition. He is an absolute, horrendous criminal, and you give him the dignity of that. How unedifying and how disrespectful to the family. Constable Angela Taylor's family have had to wait for over two years for you to get your act together, and then you call him 'Dr' Craig Minogue. Minister, you should be hanging your head in shame, as you are now. Well, you can look at me. Yes, good, because it is so disrespectful to Constable Taylor and her family and friends and indeed every serving Victorian police officer to see that you have given him that title, when he went on and did, as I described it, that horrendous premeditated bombing, took out the Russell Street headquarters and maimed, injured and caused so much trauma to the victims of that crime.

Again, it is symptomatic of you and this government: you do not understand the impact on victims; you never put victims first. We have seen that in so many instances. Again you have tried to use this for political expediency. You have tried to use it to say that you are strong on crime, tough on crime, whereas in actual fact Victorians know that you have been hopelessly pathetic, and that is why we have a crime crisis. That is why you botched the first bill. You tried to rush it through and you have not understood the implications, with more taxpayers money going out the window with your decisions that have been absolutely inept.

Minister, I think it is quite extraordinary that you do not have the grace or the dignity to acknowledge the work that has been done by Mr O'Donohue on behalf of all Victorians. He did the work. This was modelled on the Julian Knight legislation of the former coalition government, and now you are claiming what is almost identical. It is extraordinary that you will not even have the grace or dignity to acknowledge the work of Mr O'Donohue. I am sure you will not do so in your summing up speech. You will just claim it all as your great idea and that you are the first to understand and acknowledge it. Well, you should be doing the right thing and acknowledging to all Victorians the horrendous crime that occurred in 1986 that killed Constable Angela Taylor, that you rushed in the first instance to get this legislation in and got it wrong, and then have been so slow to get it right and you have brought it in now on the eve of an election.

Ms Shing interjected.

Ms CROZIER Well, Ms Shing, you come in and interrupt. Minister Tierney needs to understand and give that acknowledgement to Mr O'Donohue in relation to

Ms Shing interjected.

Ms CROZIER I am going to take my 1 minute and 38 seconds that I have got left to acknowledge the work of police officers. You just might not understand the work that they do on the front line, but your government has been absolutely hopeless in acknowledging the crime crisis that has existed and the police officers, both men and women, who are doing extraordinary work on behalf of all Victorians.

Ms Shing interjected.

Ms CROZIER Well, you know what? You have got your head in the sand because the reality in the community is that there are many, many people who are victims of very serious crimes, and you are denying the fact that serious offences have risen. In fact, crime under Daniel Andrews has risen by over 10 per cent. You are in complete denial, and that is why you are in trouble and you bring in this important bill.

I am not going to waste time. In the last few seconds, I just want to again acknowledge and pay my respects to the Taylor family. I, too, like others, am absolutely disappointed that it has taken over two years for this hopeless government to get this important legislation through the house to ensure that Craig Minogue is never released from prison.

 

 


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