Hon Julia Banks: I rise today to discuss the serious surge in crime in Victoria which has been allowed to flourish under the Victorian Labor government. Thousands of Victorians have been directly and indirectly affected by this crime surge, and, moreover, thousands of Victorians will continue to be affected directly and indirectly by crime that has happened recently in Victoria. The latest crime statistics show that, since the inception of the Andrews Labor government, violent crimes from murder to assault, rape and aggravated robbery have significantly increased. The Labor government continue to drag their feet and are not addressing the crisis, given this surge of violent crime. Rather, Labor continues to defend the status quo on sentencing, bail and reform and will not support the Liberals’ mandatory sentencing policy view.
Repeat violent offenders should serve mandatory jail time and not be out in the community committing more violent crimes. In Victoria, attempted murder is up 141.2 per cent; rape is up 14.4 per cent; assault is on the increase by 33.6 per cent; and there is an increase in aggravated burglary of 65.89 per cent. There have been gang crimes, carjackings, burglaries of jewellery stores and the horrific Bourke Street attack. In my electorate of Chisholm alone, a neurological surgeon was bashed outside the Box Hill Hospital with a one-punch bash.
In fact we saw in Mount Waverley a memorial service with a large gathering of the wonderful Chinese community in Chisholm, who held a service for the grieving devastated parents of the victim of the Brighton siege, a hardworking family man who was shot down and killed by a man known to police, who had an extremely violent history and should never ever have been out on parole. It is exceedingly unthinkable that the victim’s killer was on parole. How many times do we have to hear on the news every time another crime is committed that the man was known to police? It seems that every day in Victoria there is news of another significantly violent crime.
Whilst the primary suspects of this crime wave are members of the Apex street gang, following investigation by police, other street youth gangs have also now been identified as engaging in similar conduct. In other words, the Apex gang is one gang of many youth street gangs that are terrifying our streets. These youth gangs’ high-risk criminal offending involves aggravated burglaries, the theft of luxury vehicles from Melbourne homes, home invasions, assaults, on-the-street carjackings of luxury vehicles, and all of this has become all too common place. These street gangs predominantly utilise weapons and firearms in the process of offending.
Victoria’s bail laws in particular are generally considered to be the nation’s weakest. We were promised a review of them by Premier Andrews and some action but of course we are still waiting. Commonwealth agencies have assisted their state law enforcement counterparts in Victoria to the extent that they can, acknowledging that this is very much a matter for the Victorian government and its police force. But alas, they either turn a blind eye or prefer Labor’s do-nothing approach rather than tackling the problem head on.
By contrast, as our Prime Minister has said, the Turnbull government will continue to do everything it can to keep Australians safe. That is our absolute priority. The Turnbull government has brought in the biggest changes in a generation with respect to terrorists who commit the most heinous and horrific of crimes, as we have seen in Manchester, London Bridge and at home in the bayside suburb of Brighton. The Turnbull government’s approach has enabled our agencies to prevent 12 planned terrorist attacks, including mass casualty attacks and one that was disturbingly planned around Christmas time in Melbourne’s Federation Square.
The Commonwealth government is committed to making our community safe and supports crime prevention initiatives to address antisocial and unlawful behaviour through the $50 million Safer Community Program. Importantly, the coalition government committed at the 2013 and 2016 elections to toughen up penalties for gun related crime. The government has introduced legislation to increase the existing maximum penalties for firearm trafficking and, crucially, to implement five-year mandatory minimum sentences. This sends the strongest possible signal that we will not tolerate gun crime on our streets. The Turnbull Liberal government will always maintain that our No. 1 priority will be to keep Australians safe, no matter what the domestic debate is. But it is about time that Labor stopped being soft on crime.
Chamber Federation Chamber on 19/06/2017 Item Federation Chamber – PRIVATE MEMBERS’ BUSINESS – Crime in Victoria Speaker: Banks, Julia, MP