ACT opposes mandatory sentencing
By James Vassilopoulos
CANBERRA — Three hundred people turned out to a protest on February 17 against mandatory sentencing in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. The rally, called with only two days' notice, demanded that the federal government intervene to repeal the draconian laws.
The rally was sponsored by the National Children's and Youth Law Centre, Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation ACT, and the Defence for Children International.
Matilda House from the Ngunnawal Land Council contrasted the imprisonment of those who steal biscuits with the freedom of Australian governments' and businesses' to steal land from indigenous people.
Federal Greens senator Bob Brown said Australia would face international condemnation because of the racist mandatory sentencing laws. George Browning, the Anglican Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn, said that putting young people into prison is not a solution and is a terrible reflection on society.