The National Network are appalled and deeply disturbed by the recent announcement from the Liberal National Party (LNP) regarding their proposed ‘adult crime, adult time’ policy, which seeks to impose adult sentencing laws on children convicted of serious crimes in Queensland. This policy marks a significant step backward in our treatment of children in the so-called justice system and demonstrates a complete disregard for their rights and wellbeing.

‘Calling children ‘untouchables’ is a disgraceful and dehumanising act, particularly when many of these children have endured years of systemic abuse and neglect by the state,’ said Debbie Kilroy. ‘The state shows interest in these young lives only when it seeks to criminalise them, funnelling more and more money into law enforcement and incarceration rather than providing the necessary support and resources that families and children need from birth. This approach does nothing more than uphold the colonial carceral state, and subject these children to more racial gendered violence,’ said Debbie Kilroy.

‘This policy announcement by the LNP represents another racially gendered attack on Aboriginal children, families, and communities. It sets a dangerous precedent, creating a slippery slope where Aboriginal children may find themselves incarcerated for life, subjected to a cycle of punishment rather than support. This policy is rooted in racism, further marginalising and criminalising vulnerable communities,’ said Debbie Kilroy.

‘It is worth noting that other countries with similar failed policies are now repealing such sentences, recognising that children require support, care and love, not exile and punishment, warehoused in cages,’ said Tabitha Lean. ‘Taxpayer funds currently being poured into policing and incarceration would be far better spent on providing comprehensive support to children and families from the outset,’ said Tabitha Lean.

‘The LNP’s proposal to impose adult sentences on children is short sighted and nothing more than a populist policy and a desperate grab for political points in an election cycle, with our children being the political footballs,’ said Tabitha Lean. ‘How about we invest in our communities and keep kids in our communities and classrooms and prioritise support over punishment,’ said Tabitha Lean.

The National Network call on the Queensland government and the broader community to reject this harmful policy proposal and to advocate for policies that prioritise the wellbeing and future of our children. It is time to invest in our children and families, not in cops and cages.

For further comment, please contact Debbie Kilroy on 0419 762 474 or Tabitha Lean on 0499 780 226.