14 February 2024

Tasmanian Government calls for public consultation on Sentencing Amendment Bill

| Andrew McLaughlin
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Tasmanian Police

It is hoped tougher sentencing laws for assaults will better protect frontline workers. Photo: Tasmanian Police Force.

The Tasmanian Government has called for public submissions on a Sentencing Amendment Bill that would require minimum sentences of six months for perpetrators convicted of causing serious bodily harm on frontline workers.

The bill would cover assaults on frontline workers including health, safety and emergency services workers, correctional services officers, retail, hospitality and passenger transport workers.

A 10 February release says the presumption of mandatory minimum sentencing provisions proposed in the bill will not apply where the court believes the imposition of such a sentence would be unjust when considering the circumstances of the offence or the offender.

It says the provisions will also not apply to offenders who are under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed, or, in certain circumstances, to offenders who have impaired mental functioning that is causally linked to the crime.

Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Guy Barnett said the government would always advocate for strong penalties for those who assaulted Tasmanians who served the community in frontline jobs.

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“What this presumption of minimum sentencing terms will do is ensure there is an absolute minimum floor for sentencing these crimes which cannot be breached without very strong reasons why,” he said.

“Our government has not wavered from our firm commitment to protect our hardworking frontline workers by providing for minimum terms for a range of offences, and the need to balance judicial discretion with community expectations.”

Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Management Felix Ellis said that, if passed, the legislation would extend the suite of laws currently in place for mandatory sentencing for assaults against police officers, and predators who harmed children.

“The Rockliff Liberal Government is sending a clear message that assaults and serious offences against our health and emergency services, retail, hospitality and transportation workers are not OK,” he said.

“The people of Tasmania demand that anyone who commits these offences against first responders and frontline workers should face serious consequences – not a slap on the wrist.

“We’ve taken these policies to three separate elections and each and every time we’ve received a strong mandate from the community to pursue these laws,” Minister Ellis said.

More information is available here. Submissions should be received by 29 March 2024.

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