The Senate has today voted down Senator Siewert and Senator Dodson’s joint motion calling on the Government to urgently legislate to raise the criminal age of responsibility to a minimum of 14 years old.
“I’m deeply disappointed that the Government has indicated that it will not take action to address the age of criminal responsibility in Australia which is inconsistent with international human rights conventions and flies in the face of work of the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the Northern Territory,” Australian Greens spokesperson on First Nations issues Senator Rachel Siewert said.
“Across Australia, the age of criminal responsibility is currently 10 years old, meaning that children are being charged, brought before courts, sentenced and imprisoned. Criminalising young and vulnerable children creates a vicious cycle of disadvantage and entrenches children in the criminal justice system.
“First Nations young people are 25 times more likely to be in detention than non-Indigenous young people and 17 times more likely to be under youth justice supervision.
“Detention should only be used as a very last resort for any person up to 17 years.
"If we are going to have any chance at closing the gap we need a human rights based approach to youth justice and First Nations peoples control over the development, design and implementation of youth justice policies for First Nations young people."
The motion reads:
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie; 0418 401 180