Press Release: JustSpeak responds to call for Sentencing and Parole change

December 2, 2020

Today Diane Hunt, mother of police officer Constable Matthew Hunt, delivers a petition to parliament asking for changes to the Sentencing Act 2002 and Parole Act 2002, whereby anyone convicted of murdering a police officer would receive a mandatory life sentence with parole automatically denied.


JustSpeak Director Tania Sawicki Mead says that while all of us want our families to be safe at work, harsher penalties will only continue to take us down the path of an ineffective justice system that hurts all of us . 


“Our hearts are with the Hunt family, and all families whose loved ones haven’t returned from a day at work. We are also acutely aware of the damage that has been done by impulsive legislative changes in response to sentinel events, including the ballooning number of people in our prisons following introduction of Three Strikes legislation and the 2013 changes to the Bail Amendment Act. 


“At times like this we need to work collectively to find solutions that keep everyone safe. A pragmatic response to harm is needed if we truly want to build a future free from violence


“There is overwhelming evidence showing that prisons as the default response to crime increases harm in our communities.


“Better models for justice already exist. Restorative justice approaches hold people accountable for harm and violence, while helping victims to heal. Restorative models for justice are proven to have better outcomes for people who have been harmed and their families, supporting wellbeing and safer communities, and are used internationally to address even the most serious crimes.


“The way we do justice is failing, and we cannot continue investing ever-expanding resources into a failing approach and hope to reach different outcomes. 


“A better future for everyone requires that we make pragmatic and commonsense decisions based on evidence, and that we ensure that the laws which govern our justice system support the future we want to see - one where we all get to return home to our loved ones at the end of the day.