Goss condemned on jailing move
By Bill Mason
BRISBANE — "The Goss Labor government wants to throw more young people behind bars as a short cut to electoral victory in the coming state election", Zanny Begg, Democratic Socialist candidate for the seat of Brisbane Central, said on June 3.
She was commenting on the decision by state cabinet to succumb to political and judicial pressure from conservative forces to remove the "prison as a last resort" provision for offenders under 25 from the Penalties and Sentences Act.
Cabinet decided to amend the act at its meeting on May 29, including also a tightening of the parole rights of long-term prisoners.
"The Labor government is joining in the law-and-order competition with the Coalition, in a simplistic attempt to 'solve' crime by filling up the jails and building new ones", Begg said.
"By jailing young people the government and opposition are completely ignoring the social basis of crime, which is poverty and unemployment, and merely creating a vicious circle of crime and punishment in which no-one wins — least of all the general community."
Begg said that law-and-order hysteria "leads to increases in police powers to victimise and harass young people and others.
"The Democratic Socialist Campaign calls for the social roots of crime to be tackled, by full-time, socially useful job creation, and development of proper facilities for youth, including sport and recreation."
Queensland Council for Civil Liberties president Ian Dearden also condemned the Goss government's action, saying the proposed change was a "pathetic knee-jerk reaction from a government running scared on the law-and-order issue".
For more information on the Democratic Socialist Campaign, contact: 29 Terrace Street, New Farm 4005, or phone (07)254 0565.