The Law and Order Auction.

Today Daniel Andrews called civil liberties a luxury when discussing terrorism. I had this letter in The Age on 13 April 2017*

I think we’ve just seen the opening bid in the four-yearly law and order auction when the state Liberal and Labor parties try to outdo each other by proposing increasingly harsh prison sentences to appear “tough on crime”. Matthew Guy’s promise of minimum mandatory sentences for violent repeat offenders (The Age, 12/4), is a typical offering, and we should expect a strong counter bid from Labor.

But every time a stern MP gets behind the microphone to announce ever longer periods of banishment for our violent men, I get less interested in buying. I want governments to get tough on the causes of crime. Why not increase funding to schools in our most disadvantaged areas? We don’t provide enough rehabilitation programs for the prisoners who will sooner or later be released to live among us. Do all those in prison for drug-related offences really need to be there? Research into why crimes occur, and putting resources into the unglamorous task of prevention, might get more results than increasing the suffering of those who got caught.

Tim Read, Brunswick East

*Since then, Matthew Guy was seen eating lobster with an alleged mafioso and Labor MLC Khalid Eideh got into a spot of bother with inconvenient allegations of rorting his electorate allowance. So they might have to go quiet on crime for a while.