Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Politicians' Reaction to Pedophiles

Carl Scully (NSW Police Minister) and Peter Debnam (NSW Opposition Leader) have waged a battle of the press statement to show who has/will have the toughest policy about paedophiles, and who can show the greatest political interference with the judiciary. Make no mistake: Lewthwaite’s crime against a little girl was heinous; an affront to society and our collective humanity, but it is not the role of politicians to interfere with judicial processes.

(NSW Justice Minister) Tony Kelly is reported to have called the NSW Parole Board to insist/direct its action. I have a problem with that. He did so under political pressure. At what point do politicians respect the Separation of Powers, but ensure that the legislation and judicial policies are appropriate?

What happened to the other man who was sunbaking nude? Why has he not been locked in gaol, with politicians’ wishes to rot? Is it acceptable for some people with criminal convictions to sunbake nude, but not others? What about people previously convicted of “indecent exposure” by sunbaking nude? Again, what about the other man? Will governments establish squads of “brown-shirts” or “black-shirts” to “manage” people?

As a society, and individually, we must insist on:
  • properly drafted laws. If need be they can be amended.
  • properly drafted policies and procedures for government departments, so that they can operate appropriately
  • properly drafted policies and procedures for the judiciary.
  • judiciary independence and freedom from political interference, including political appointments to the courts. The Separation of Powers is the only thing stopping us becoming a police state!

It behoves all of us, and especially the media, to remind politicians of their responsibilities to our democracy.

The Analyst