Queensland’s repeat young offenders will be sent to adult jails when they turn 17 and publicly named and shamed.
Parliament was set to pass legislation on Tuesday that would make the state the harshest in Australia for juvenile criminals, as the principle of detention as a last resort is jettisoned.
“We will no longer tolerate shallow slaps on the wrists,” Attorney-General Jarrod Bleijie told parliament.
About 60 per cent of young offenders had been to court five times or more, while about 30 per cent committed about three quarters of all offences, he said.
Repeat motor vehicle offenders in Townsville will be sent to boot camp as a mandatory sentence.
Local Government Minister David Crisafulli said out-of-control youth had been running amok in his Townsville electorate.
“The people we represent are under siege,” he said.
“Gangs of youth are out of control.
“People are living like prisoners in their own homes, going into the front driveway and some little thug with a knife car-jacking them.”
The Queensland Law Society told a committee consultation on the bill that juvenile detention increased the likelihood of reoffending.
Amnesty International said the bill would breach the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Australia signed in 1990.
It states that the arrest, detention and imprisonment of young people should only be used as a last resort.
Labor is opposing the bill, with the opposition’s police spokesman Bill Byrne noting that not one committee submission backed it.
Palmer United Party MP Carl Judge, a former police officer who defected from the ruling Liberal National Party, was another critic.
“It is an ideological and immature approach to law-making not to adopt an evidence-based position which in this case requires an understanding of the causations of crime and recidivism,” he said.