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Attorney General Admits No Plan to Raise the Age of Criminal Responsibility

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Sue Higginson
NSW Greens MP
12 October 2022

Attorney General Mark Speakman has yesterday in Budget Estimates revealed the NSW Coalition Government will not be Raising the Age of criminal responsibility in this term of Government and children between the age of 10 and 14 will remain subject to terms of imprisonment.  

The Attorney General revealed that his promised national harmonisation approach had stalled drastically and won't be revisited until the middle of next year. This revelation comes after representatives from the Raise the Age Alliance earlier this month presented the Attorney General, Shadow Attorney General and Greens spokesperson for justice a petition signed by 63 488 people to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years. 

Greens MP and spokesperson for justice Sue Higginson said “The Attorney General’s admission yesterday that he has no intention of Raising the Age of criminal responsibility in NSW during this term of Parliament is shocking. The body of evidence that we must Raise the Age is overwhelming. Children between the age of 10 and 13 should not go to jail. 

“This is an enormous failure of this Government and a massive slap in the face to the many experts, organisations, families and children who have made the case for change. First Nations children suffer disportionately as they are vastly overrepresented in the criminal justice system. We need to get on with the work and develop and implement comprehensive wrap-around programs to help children get out and stay out of the criminal justice system. Instead, the NSW Government has yesterday indicated that we are leaving children behind bars indefinitely.

“Harmonisation is not currently an option, earlier this year the Northern Territory committed to raising the age to 12 and the Australian Capital Territory to 14 years. If the Attorney General was serious about raising the age he needs to take leadership and do the work that’s required to Raise the Age here in NSW,” Ms Higginson said.

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Sue Higginson
NSW Greens MP
12 October 2022
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