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Greens Urge Government to Show Leadership on Raising the Age of Criminal Responsibility

30 November 2023

The Greens are calling on the State Government to commit to raising the age of criminal responsibility to 14 years of age ahead of a national meeting of Federal, State and Territory Attorneys-General tomorrow.

On Friday, the Standing Council of Attorneys-General (SCAG) will discuss their respective plans about the minimum age of criminal responsibility. The Raise the Age Campaign has launched a week of action highlighting the urgency and importance of raising the age in the lead-up to the meeting.

In Question Time yesterday, Greens Justice Spokesperson Robert Simms MLC asked Attorney-General Kyam Maher if the State Government will advise the SCAG meeting that SA intends to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 14, but in his response the Attorney-General refused to make a commitment.

“The State Government must heed the call of the United Nations and other bodies and show leadership by committing to raise the age of criminal responsibility in SA to 14 years of age. The Attorney-General should be urging his colleagues to do the same in their respective States and Territories at tomorrow’s SCAG meeting,” said Mr Simms.

“Children as young as ten years old are languishing in prisons across the country, exposing them to trauma and harm in their formative years. Rather than spending millions of dollars on the cruel practice of locking up children, Governments need to shift their approach to diversion and rehabilitation programs that actually work.”

Mr Simms has a Bill before parliament to raise the age of criminal responsibility in South Australia from 10 to 14. Last year, a petition with more than 11,000 signatures was presented to Attorney-General Kyam Maher in support of the reform.