Crimes Amendment (Carjacking and Home Invasion) Bill 2016
Written on the 19 October 2016
13 October 2016
GEORGIE CROZIER (LIB - Southern Metropolitan)
I too am pleased to be able to rise this afternoon and speak to the Crimes Amendment (Carjacking and Home Invasion) Bill 2016, which members have spoken about today. This is an important piece of legislation that we are debating this afternoon, but can I say, along with my colleagues and Mr Finn in his contribution made reference to it that Mr O'Donohue's previous legislation addressed this matter. It was passed in this very house, but denied in the lower house by Premier Daniel Andrews and his colleagues quite an extraordinary display of, I would say, arrogance in relation to the government's handling of this very serious situation.
Why do I say that? I say that because we know that crime has risen at an unprecedented rate under the Andrews government. In my area of Southern Metropolitan Region I know that Ms Fitzherbert is here in the house with me this afternoon, and she is well and truly aware of what I am speaking about we have had some very serious crimes occur, especially in relation to aggravated burglaries, and I will come to that in relation to the government's proposal here, but more importantly around carjackings. Indeed my colleague the member for Malvern in the other place, Mr Michael O'Brien, has also raised his concerns about the Malvern police station and the potential for it to be closed, especially as we have seen a spate of carjackings occur around the Malvern area.I want to quote Mr O'Donohue from when he introduced his private members bill which addressed this very issue earlier in the year. He said:
Carjackings were, until recently, virtually unknown in Victoria. In fact, according to the Crime Statistics Agency, the number of crimes that fit the matrix of a carjacking has increased by 80 per cent in the last year aloneThat is a very concerning statistic, but he is right that this offence was virtually unknown, and as others have said, it is something that has come to Victoria, is on the rise and is increasing in severity, and we know that there have been some extremely brazen behaviour and some very violent incidents that have occurred in relation to carjacking. If I could just refer to some of those who have spoken about this, and I referred to Mr O'Brien's area, but earlier this year, in June, a news item said:
There's been two violent carjackings in Melbourne in 24 hours this week. Both victims were hospitalised.What we are seeing is these offenders who are conducting these crimes bumping cars, and they are targeting luxury cars in most cases, it appears, but I know that at one particular incident a 23-year-old's Audi was nudged from behind by a BMW in Malvern and the driver was then hit with a crowbar when he got out to inspect the damage. Now, that is extraordinarily violent, and for an innocent victim just driving along, going about his business, to be bumped and hit with a crowbar demonstrates the brazenness and the severity of the actions that we are speaking about.
Another 40-year-old who was driving in Malvern East was repeatedly bumped from behind. When the driver pulled over he was attacked by three people with a hammer. Unfortunately this was conducted by a 16-year-old who was arrested and charged with armed robbery, intentionally causing injury and car theft amongst a range of other offences. So what we are seeing is, as I said, very brazen activities.I know some have raised their concerns about these incidents being linked to the Apex gang. The government needs to understand that this is very concerning amongst the community. These Apex gang members are, as I said, undertaking these very violent crimes and are literally running amok and getting away with some very serious crimes across the state.
Police Association Victoria has also raised its concerns about this. It has said that we need 24-hour police stations to deal with these sorts of incidents. Police have also said that if you are involved in a carjacking, drive to a police station as a safe sanctuary. That is the importance of having police stations, but under the Andrews government we are seeing less frontline police and more police stations closing while we are dealing with a serious crime wave that is sweeping the state.I want to put on record what is concerning my constituents in the Southern Metropolitan Region, because crime is increasing across that area and those crimes are increasing in their severity, as I have already mentioned. I know personally of people who have 16-year-old kids who have been walking through parks and had machetes pulled on them and robbed in virtual daylight, another person having a machete put to his throat and robbed, kids getting carjacked, home invasions on numerous occasions and cars being torched. It is said that these offenders are from gangs, and we have to deal with this issue. This is an issue that is becoming increasingly concerning to everybody across the state. What we have is a government that seems to be sitting on its hands and putting its head in the sand in terms of what is actually occurring. As Mr Finn highlighted in his contribution just prior to mine, Mr O'Donohue introduced the original bill on this. This house passed it, yet the lower house did not, so it is trying to wrap it all up and look like it is actually doing something.
In relation to the other part of the bill that we are discussing today about aggravated burglaries, it could be argued that this could already have been achieved using existing aggravated burglary offences and looking at other areas around minimum statutory offences. If the government is serious about this whole crime issue that the state is in the grips of, then it really needs to put its money where its mouth is and put more police on the front line and give them the resources they require. Do not just talk about it, do it and then look at actually what is happening in relation to these very, very severe violent offences that are being committed by numbers of young people. Concerningly, those young people are reoffending. The increase in reoffending is I think of concern to all Victorians because this government is not addressing the matter satisfactorily enough.
I just wanted to make a few comments about the increased numbers of carjackings that are occurring in my area, the increased crime that is occurring across the state and the increase in the severity of crime that is occurring across the state. The government really needs to get its act together and deal with this very, very serious and concerning situation.