When in opposition, Victoria¹s Liberal/National coalition made a number of commitments to be 'tough on crime'. After winning the 2010 state election, the Government arguably reformed sentencing laws more quickly and more substantially in its first year of office than any other area of policy, with several key initiatives delivered or in train.
The Victorian experience exemplifies fast and forceful responses to perceived risks to community safety by new Australian Governments. While some political leaders have decried the 'law and order auction' approach by political parties, it remains a real tool in political discourse.
Some of these initiatives appear inconsistent with fundamental sentencing principles, and are designed more to address public perceptions which are disconnected from the realities of criminality and incidence of offending. A more appropriate basis for criminal justice policy may require Government to prioritise addressing the causes of offending behavior, rather than penalising consequences.
Field of Research
180104 Civil Law and Procedure 180110 Criminal Law and Procedure