NSW MPs to mull 'no body, no parole' laws

·2-min read

Convicted murderers in NSW are one step closer to losing hope of early release as the state government introduces new "no body, no parole" laws.

The laws are aimed at coaxing murderers into giving up the resting place of their victims if they want to be released on parole.

Legal experts say the proposed legislation may give false hope to victims as similar laws in other states have failed to deliver.

Corrections Minister Geoff Lee introduced the proposed "Lyn's law" to parliament's lower house on Wednesday, which will need to pass both the lower and upper houses before becoming law.

The name refers to Lynette Dawson, the Sydney mother who was murdered by her husband Chris Dawson in 1982 as he pursued an affair with one of his high school students.

Dawson was convicted last month of murdering Ms Dawson. The body of the mother of two has never been found and her case sparked calls for the proposed changes.

"This bill would help the families and friends get the closure that they deserve," Mr Lee told parliament on Wednesday.

"The bill gives victims dignity and respect."

Parole boards already consider whether killers have revealed the locations of victims' remains but the proposed laws would make it tougher.

Police would have to indicate to the parole board the timeliness and usefulness of the information provided.

Mr Lee said co-operation would be a prerequisite for parole but it would not mean automatic release, with community safety and other considerations to also be reviewed.

"The law would also not allow any leniency if the offender does not enter co-operation," Mr Lee said.

Professor Luke McNamara, co-director of the UNSW's Centre for Crime, Law and Justice, said the proposal fitted a pattern of governments acting out of a sense of duty to victims.

"But in terms of meaningful effect there is a big question mark whether the stated goals of these actual laws is ever achieved," Prof McNamara said.

Similar laws in other states have not seen convicted murderers revealing the locations of remains and Prof McNamara said it was "misleading" that governments could coax a change of heart through law.

University of Sydney legal expert Arlie Loughnan said offenders have a chance to help police locate bodies during even before they're charged or convicted.

Others might not know where the body is because they were innocent.

"These laws will incentivise prisoners who can help police find a body to do so, and, where they are successful, help victims' families by allowing them to put their loved one to rest.," Prof Loughnan told AAP.

Opposition corrections spokeswoman Tara Moriarty has said Labor needed to see the detail of the legislation but would support it, saying the change was long overdue.