: Update from Tasmania

Update from Tasmania

Noel Rattray

The Tasmanian Law Reform Institute (‘TLRI’) recently released its latest Report entitled Racial Vilification and Racially Motivated Offences calling for a new sentencing provision to be introduced to address criminal racial vilification and racially motivated offenses. The Report was prompted by a proposal from the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Tasmania following the killing of an Asian student studying at the University and a significant increase in media reporting of racially motivated attacks throughout Australia during 2009 and 2010.

Similar to provisions contained in New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Victoria the TLRI recommended that a sentence aggravation provision rather than a stand-alone criminal offence was the preferred reform. According to director of the TLRI, Professor Kate Warner,

An express sentence aggravation provision allows a judge to take the racist motivation of an offender into consideration at sentencing. By singling out this factor, Parliament is sending a strong message that reaffirms social values of tolerance and respect for racial minorities.

The Attorney-General is currently considering the Report’s recommendations.

In other news, the Minister for Corrections Nick McKim has finally launched Breaking the Cycle, a blueprint for Tasmania’s Correction System for the next ten years. The Report is welcomed for a number of reasons including the Minister’s admission that imprisonment should be the option of ‘last resort’ and that ‘electronic monitoring’ as an option for compliance monitoring will be investigated.

NOELLE RATTRAY is a Tasmanian-based lawyer.

(2011) 36(2) AltLJ 134
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