Katter urges law overhaul now


Once the bill is introduced, it must be referred to a parliamentary committee that seeks public feedback before proposals can become law.

The government can bypass the process if it declares a bill “urgent”.

Last year the Labor government declared a number of bills “urgent”, including controversial laws to bar a climate activist from becoming the mayor of Rockhampton, as well as laws to freeze the wages of hundreds of thousands of public servants during the pandemic.

Katter’s Australian Party leader Robbie Katter said the youth justice legislation should also be rushed through as crime was at “crisis levels” and “there are people very, very angry in north Queensland”.

“I think there has been plenty of airtime on these issues and the public sentiment is such that they want some action,” he said.

“I have a long and increasing catalogue of reports of vulnerable ladies being strangled by kids in their house, being victimised, and people being hit multiple times in houses who are vulnerable.

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“It stirs emotions, and they are sick and tired of hearing about what is best for these children. We need to also think what is best for the victims of these crimes.”

Mr Katter said the government’s reforms were “nine parts public relations and one part meaningful change” and he would move amendments to the bill.

Under the KAP plan, children convicted of crimes would be sent to a remote facility 800 kilometres west of Townsville which would “operate on minimum costs and work closely with Indigenous elders and youth workers to help offenders develop key life skills”.

State Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said the changes did not go far enough, while international non-governmental organisation Save the Children argued the laws were an “entirely political, knee-jerk reaction which will humiliate already vulnerable children and simply won’t work”.

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