NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson has welcomed the decision of the NSW Upper House to support Labor’s amendments to new alcohol laws.
NSW Labor put forward common sense amendments that would create a single and straightforward ‘gross violence’ offence for offenders who inflict serious injury on others while intoxicated and in a public place.
The ‘gross violence’ amendments were modelled on laws introduced by the Victorian Liberal Government in 2012 – and supported in a bipartisan fashion by the Victorian Parliament.
The laws were originally developed by experts on the Victorian Sentencing Council – which is made up of police, law experts and victims groups.
There were serious concerns that the laws proposed by the O’Farrell Government were cobbled together on the run – and could actually result in individuals who are involved in minor incidents with friends that lead to a scratch or cut lip receive a mandatory jail sentence.
The amendments moved by Labor – and supported by the NSW Upper House – ensure that NSW has tough laws for alcohol-fuelled violence which are fail-safe and properly targeted at violent offenders.
Robertson said the O’Farrell Government’s approach to new laws targeting alcohol fuelled violence had been in shambles.
“Barry O’Farrell has cobbled together these laws without consultation and as a result he has had to change and amend his own proposals on the run,” Robertson said.
“We put forward amendments based on the bipartisan laws passed in Victoria which were the result of extensive consultation with police, victims of crime groups and legal experts.
“We have said from day one that we would not play politics with cracking down on alcohol fuelled violence – but we will put forward laws that we think will better target violent thugs.
“Unfortunately we are still yet to see the government provide more police resources and late night trains that will help crack down on alcohol fuelled violence.”
Labor’s amendments propose a five year mandatory minimum sentence for this offence, with a maximum of sixteen years, if it is committed while intoxicated and in a public place.
Robertson noted that support for Labor’s amendments came from across the political spectrum – including the Greens Party and the Shooters and Fishers Party.
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