16 November 2021
The Hon. R.A. SIMMS: A national campaign to raise the age of criminal responsibility to at least 14, in line with other jurisdictions around the world, has been backed by a coalition of legal, medical and social justice organisations, including the Law Council of Australia, the Australian Medical Association and Aboriginal-led groups.
In a statement released late on Monday, the meeting of attorneys-general agreed to support a development of a 'proposal to increase the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12, including with regard to any carve outs, timing and discussion of implementation requirements.' That's a quote from the statement.
My question to the Treasurer is: given advocates have said that raising the age of criminal responsibility to 12 would make little difference to the number of children imprisoned, estimating that it would only reduce the number of under 14s imprisoned from 499 to 456, will the government consider raising the age to 14 instead?
The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer): I will refer the honourable member's question to the Attorney-General, but if he is quoting from a statement from all attorneys-general, I assume it includes our Attorney-General. I will, nevertheless, refer the question to the Attorney and bring back a reply.
8 February 2022
Additional answer received
In reply to the Hon. R.A. SIMMS (16 November 2021).
The Hon. R.I. LUCAS (Treasurer): The Attorney-General has advised:
On 12 November 2021, at the Meeting of Attorneys-General, the Marshall Liberal government was pleased to support the motion for state attorneys-general to develop a proposal to increase the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12, including with regard to any carve outs, timing and discussion of implementation requirements.
The government has consistently indicated its preference for there to be national consensus on this issue where possible, and so the Marshall Liberal government will continue to work with our state counterparts to consider this issue.
For the year 2020 in South Australia, 489 charges were laid against 78 children aged 10 or 11 and 27 per cent of these children were of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander heritage.
The Marshall Liberal government is supportive of the national push to develop a proposal to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 12 years of age.