Queensland passes controversial youth justice laws
Queensland has passed controversial youth justice laws in response to a number of high-profile crimes after three days of fiery debate in state parliament.
The changes make it a crime for a child to breach their bail conditions, fit GPS trackers on children as young as 15 and allow courts to declare certain youths serious repeat offenders.
There are also harsher prison terms for car thieves, new penalties for people who boast about crime on social media and judges will have to take the histories of child offenders into account when deciding bail applications.
There will also be funds to speed up sentencing in children's courts, a trial of car engine immobilisers and an expanded police flying squad that can be rapidly deployed to problem areas.
Labor, the Liberal National Party, Katter's Australian Party, One Nation and independent MP made up the 85 votes in favour of the laws with two Greens MPs voting against them on Thursday.
"This bill upholds the human rights of law-abiding Queenslanders," Police Minister Mark Ryan told parliament.
"They have asked for additional action and the government is responding decisively to address the often violent, frightening and dangerous offending being undertaken by a handful of serious repeat offenders."
Human rights watchdogs, legal groups, social service providers, charities and advocates have roundly condemned the bill, which will target mostly Indigenous children who are overrepresented in the justice system.
Greens MP Michael Berkman decried the "disgraceful" laws, saying parliament was "running roughshod" over evidence-based policy.
"Even if you only care about community safety and do not give a damn about these kids, you know that this bill will increase offending," Mr Berkman told parliament.
The Maiwar MP said Queensland already locks up more kids than any other state.
"This is a disgraceful piece of legislation and I hope each and every one of these members of the government feel shame when they sit there and vote for it."
The Palaszczuk government unveiled the bill after widespread community outrage over the fatal stabbing of mother Emma Lovell at her home north of Brisbane, and the killing of a man with a disability who was waiting for a taxi in Toowoomba.
A committee of Labor and LNP politicians recommended the government pass the laws after a three-day inquiry.
Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said it was time for child offenders to understand there would be consequences for their actions.
"The opposition is going to continue to fight for a balance when it comes to fixing the youth crime epidemic gripping this state," he told parliament.
"It looks like this: consequences for action, unshackling the judiciary and removing detention as a last resort."
Katter's Australia Party said the laws didn't go far enough, calling for the introduction of boot camps and relocation sentencing.
Amnesty International Australia declared the laws a "national outrage".
"Multiple inquiries into youth justice in Queensland and indeed around Australia have found locking kids up does nothing to address offending behaviour. In fact, it increases recidivism," Amnesty International Australia Indigenous Rights campaigner Kacey Teerman said.
"Are we really in a position that the very government who wants to introduce these provisions acknowledges openly that they are 'incompatible with human rights' and this is not a national outrage."