Knee jerk or just plain jerk?

Signe Westerberg Headshots (60 of 102)I have to say I’ve pondered this blog post for a few hours now and am still as angry as I was when I heard this on 702 breakfast this morning. Sometime today the O’Farrell government is going to pass new laws, some are calling them the one punch law and there is enormous division and discussion going on around these proposed laws and for the moment I won’t enter into them but will later. What I  am enormously angry about is the report that John Robertson MP, leader of the NSW opposition is ready for his party to support the new legislation even though he hasn’t read it! What the stuff….. he hasn’t read the paperwork and is prepared to say okay and he’s  ready to rubber stamp it. Holy hell, how much of this goes on?

I guess I’m spoiled, the Greens MP’s read the proposed legislation BEFORE THEY VOTE ON IT, they check the t’s and dot the i’s, they look at it from all perspectives, they seek community opinions, talk with the membership and on this one there has been some heavy and passionate debate even before it is handed to parliamentarians for a vote, but to go into parliament and represent the people and not read and understood the legislation and vote anyway is abhorrent.

Don’t get me wrong, if the majority of  parliamentarians are anything like Councillors reading isn’t always their strong suit, but this is legislation, this is a new law, this is proposed to be enacted this coming weekend and rubber stamping it is ok?….well its not by me!. There are as I mentioned strong and passionate debates going on about this proposal as there should be, and while I’m not privy to all the detail in it  I would like to think that the MP’s we elect to represent us have a good, clear and informed view of what the repercussions of this will be. I fear that this will be another piece of legislation that will be bad news for the poor and indigenous and readily avoided by the rich and well off, regardless of the level of behavior. Police have a tough enough job without them having to weigh up whether or not a push equals a gutless punch rendering the recipient unconscious on the ground. Let’s not even touch on the financial ramifications and profitability for companies like Serco, another debate that needs to be had.

Please don’t get me wrong, bullies, drunks and thugs who behave in this manner should be dealt with firmly and decisively by a magistrate/judge  who is in receipt of ALL  the information and they should be punished appropriately however below is a scenario we all should be considering when this law comes into play, this could be your son, your  brother, your daughter or your partner. (tks De & David for allowing me to share it.)

Mandatory minimum sentencing means the judge has NO discretion. Here’s a scenario; Your 18 yr old son is at a party. He has been drinking – not drunk but has alcohol in his system. The police arrive because someone complained. One of his mates hands up got to the police and say it’s ok really. The police get in his face, with his hands up he slightly pushes the cops. The cops wrangle him to the ground and cuff him for preventing them from doing their duty. That boy goes to gaol automatically, under the mandatory sentencing laws, for 2 years.  Then his mate comes to his aid and grabs the policeman’s sleeve saying hang on that’s a bit rough, in doing so he grazes the cop. He is cuffed and because he has alcohol in his system and ‘grazed the policeman, he gets 3 years in gaol for assault affecting harm.

The judge can do nothing. Those two young men now have a criminal record, can’t travel o/seas and cannot fulfill their potential of say becoming a lawyer or politician etc. They spend 2-3 years in gaol with hardened criminals, come out with little hope and no job prospects – what do you think will happen after that?
Seriously this could happen.

We need our politicians to consider legislation carefully, we need them to read it first, then decide whether or not to vote for it BEFORE THEY COMMIT TO IT.

While the arguments are continuing, as they should about who’s view it should be seen from, by this afternoon, it won’t matter because this is being rushed through parliament TODAY.

Any politician who agrees that supporting a position without reading the detail should be thrown out of parliament IN MY OPINION… they will certainly not receive the benefit of my vote and if it were a Green MP (thankfully not in this case or likely others) I would actively lobby to have them thrown out and would expect that Labor,Liberal, Christian dems or shooter  voters would be doing likewise. We expect a minimum standard of our pollies, sadly yes I did say minimum, and to support legislation as important as this without knowing what it actually says is a disgrace.

We are approx 14 months from electing (re electing in some instances) the state government members of parliament, it strikes me we should be looking very closely at the level of representation we are getting for our considerable buck…be they Lib, Labor, Christian Dems, Shooters or Greens, look closely. Being in a position of such importance requires dedication, commitment and passion, NOT A RUBBER STAMP in a tit for tat what do I get out of it government  or worse still to be seen electorally as doing something when in actual fact they are doing less than nothing.

If you aren’t disgusted you just aren’t looking closely enough.

Sign off


2 Responses to Knee jerk or just plain jerk?

  1. Your post really resonates with me and I feel the same way. We are coming up to two years since these laws were implemented and we are still seeing young Australians in hospital from alcohol and drug fuelled violence. A strict law and mandatory sentencing will not deter individuals from throwing a punch, a change in cultural acceptance and education will!

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