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Monday, 13 February 2017
Page: 708

Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (18:15): Because, Senator Rhiannon, it is not a discredited approach. If you knew anything about this area, you would know that among criminologists and penologists there is a debate about the efficacy of various sentencing models and sentencing tariffs. There are some criminologists and penologists who agree with you, but, like those who invoke the language of experts in this chamber so commonly do, you entirely disregard the very relevant fact that there is a vigorous debate in that discipline among scholars and among experts. There are some who agree with you and there are others who vigorously disagree with you, but I think you will find, Senator Rhiannon, that among those who practise in the criminal courts and among judges who conduct criminal proceedings the overwhelming weight of opinion is that in appropriate cases, particularly in cases of premeditation such as trafficking in arms—which is classically an offence of premeditation rather than an offence which may be committed by an individual on impulse or in the heat of the moment—the prospect of an inevitable jail term does have a measurable deterrent effect. So, please, Senator Rhiannon, do not be so intellectually dishonest as to say, 'The experts say this,' when the fact is that there is a vigorous debate among scholars and practitioners. But the preponderant view is that in relation particularly to offences of premeditation the inevitability of a jail term does have a deterrent effect.