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Monday, 3 April 2000
Page: 14987

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives assembled in Parliament.

We the undersigned, as members and friends of Canberra Baptist Church, wish to draw to the attention of the House the issues confronting the Australian nation with respect to mandatory sentencing. We believe that the Federal Government has a legal and moral obligation to exercise its constitutional power to pass uniform Federal legislation banning mandatory laws in this country.

Mandatory sentencing breaches international human rights standards, is inconsistent with the doctrine of separation of powers, is leading to manifestly unjust results, is not cost effective, is not contributing to the prevention of crime and is impacting with disproportionate and devastating results on Aboriginal people and children. Both the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child advocate detention as a measure of last resort.

We respectfully urge the House of Representatives to accept responsibility for ending this human rights abuse in our country and to pass uniform Federal legislation which bans mandatory sentencing laws.

by Ms Ellis (from 43 citizens).