keywords: Mandatory Sentencing

  • AUSTRALIA

    Law works within darkened understanding

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 22 November 2018
    5 Comments

    Debate about the independence and the dignity of the law has always been present. Nevertheless most societies take pains to reinforce trust in those who administer justice. Some elements in our culture, however, put that trust at risk. They deserve reflection.  

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  • AUSTRALIA

    The criminal law 30 years on

    • Frank Brennan
    • 13 October 2016
    2 Comments

    With idealism and pragmatism, I invite you criminal lawyers in the next 30 years to imagine and enact a better criminal justice system which alleviates rather than exacerbates the devastating effects of colonisation and marginalisation on Indigenous Peoples, and most particularly their children. An intelligently designed criminal justice system must help secure the foothold of Indigenous children in both the Market and the Dreaming.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    A society that forgives wins

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 25 August 2016
    11 Comments

    Almost all public conversation quickly turns to transgressors. Olympic competitors growled about proven and suspect drug users. Many wanted people found to have used drugs shamed and shunned. This insistence that transgressors should definitively lose their good name and the right to participate is not confined to sport. If inflexibility and exclusion become the rule in dealing with aberrant speech or behaviour we find unacceptable, they will impose heavy burdens on individuals and society.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Patrick Dodson's Senate mandate

    • Frank Brennan
    • 15 April 2016
    21 Comments

    The royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody, which signed off on its final reports 25 years ago this Friday, definitely improved the systems for supervision of persons in detention, reducing the risk of deaths in custody. It also led to better coronial procedures. But it failed to reverse Indigenous imprisonment rates and it did little to counter the underlying causes of Indigenous imprisonment. Back then, Patrick Dodson saw police as the main problem. Now, he thinks it's the legislators.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A Human Rights Day tribute to the Northern Territory's Tony Fitzgerald

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 December 2015

    I first met this Tony on my regular visits here to Darwin when he was working at the North Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service and then when he set up the mediation services under the auspices of Anglicare. In later years I knew him when he was your Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. He was a quiet, considered, gentle, strong and principled man. On Human Rights Day, it is only fitting that I honour Tony by offering some reflections on the architecture for human rights in Australia, on the contemporary human rights controversies, and on the way forward for better protection of the human rights of Aborigines and asylum seekers, two marginalised groups who had a special claim on Tony's sympathies.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Indigenous youth pay price for ’get tough on crime’ election promise

    • Mathew Drogemuller
    • 31 March 2015
    6 Comments

    The WA premier plans to increase mandatory prison sentences for burglars. Mandatory sentencing regimes fail to take into account the underlying causes of the crimes they seek to punish. They remove a judge’s discretion to avoid a sentence of imprisonment, and fail to address the reality that such crimes reflect social problems that ensue from racial discrimination and colonial dispossession.  

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Human Rights, the national interest and the will of the people

    • Frank Brennan
    • 11 April 2014
    1 Comment

    'Whether or not we have a bill of rights, much of our human rights jurisprudence remains partial, failing to extend rights equally to all. Once we investigate much of the contemporary discussion about human rights, we find that often the intended recipients of rights do not include all human beings but only those with certain capacities or those who share sufficient common attributes with the decision makers. It is always at the edges that there is real work for human rights discourse to do.' Frank Brennan's Blackfriars Lecture

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Australia's booze culture on trial

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 06 February 2014
    10 Comments

    Alcohol has a privileged place in polite society. All mood changing substances rely on a myth of a better life and relationships, but the alcohol myth is distinctive because it is rooted in high as well as in popular culture. Attempts to regulate its consumption and limit the damage it does will therefore always be unlikely to succeed.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Obama's cannabis defence illuminates NSW booze laws

    • Ruby Hamad
    • 03 February 2014
    7 Comments

    In a nation still divided bitterly along race lines, blacks, and to a lesser extent Hispanics, bear the brunt of America's prisons-for-profit program. The perils of mandatory sentencing should serve as a warning to NSW, which has announced mandatory minimum sentences as a response to alcohol-fuelled violence. The question is not which drug is more dangerous, but how society chooses to deal with each one and why.

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  • EDUCATION

    Equipping students for moral argument

    • Frank Brennan
    • 30 September 2013

    Full text from Frank Brennan's lecture 'Law teachers as gatekeepers of law, public morality and human rights: Equipping our students for moral argument in a pluralistic legal environment' at the Australian Law Teachers Association Annual Conference 2013.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Liam Jurrah and the Northern Territory's jail-fail

    • Mike Bowden
    • 29 July 2013
    13 Comments

    AFL footballer Liam Jurrah had his prison sentence for an assault conviction reduced to three months. Hopefully he will not be too harmed by his experience, and afterwards may be given the chance to recommence his football career. But the conditions confronting his cousins and brothers will not change. In the NT there is a troubling confluence between harsher penalties and increasing incarceration rates.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    NSW and Victoria's 'tough on crime' confusion

    • Michael Mullins
    • 06 June 2011
    7 Comments

    While Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark pushes for tougher treatment of young offenders, his NSW counterpart Greg Smith is looking to Victoria's current 'enlightened' model, which favours early intervention over punishment.

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