Labor weak on prisoner voting laws

Convicted sex offenders, such as Vivian Deboo, who was yesterday sentenced to six years, seven months and six days by the District Court, would be allowed to vote while in gaol at the next State election under a proposal from the Labor Opposition.

Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman, today called on Peter Malinauskas and the Labor Party to reconsider their position on prisoner voting in the wake of Mr Deboo’s sentencing.

“Last week, in the Legislative Council, we saw the Opposition propose that only those people who are serving a life sentence would be unable to vote in a State election,” Ms Chapman said

“This is an absolute disgrace and Mr Malinauskas needs to explain to the community why Mr Deboo and other convicted sex offenders should be afforded the right to vote.

“Under the watered-down version of prisoner voting laws proposed last week by the Labor Party, serious criminals will have the right to vote, a concept the Marshall Government disagrees with wholeheartedly.

“For example, offenders convicted of manslaughter, criminal neglect, rape, unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 14, persistent sexual abuse of child, arson, and serious drug offences could all potentially retain the right to vote, depending on what sentence they are given,” Ms Chapman said.

While the Government agrees that people serving a life sentence should not be able to vote, the Government believes that the voting restriction should go further.

Under the Marshall Government’s proposed changes to prisoner voting, criminals serving a sentence of three years or more will not be able to vote at the next State election, in line with the laws that apply at Commonwealth level.

“We believe that people who commit serious crimes should not be allowed to vote for the duration of their sentence.”

Attorney-General Chapman said the Marshall Liberal Governments proposed laws will also apply to:

  • People serving a sentence of three years or more on home detention
  • People who have been detained on the basis that they are unable to control their sexual instincts
  • People who are subject to a continuing detention order because they have been deemed as high-risk offenders.

Ms Chapman said the individual’s voting rights would be restored when the term of imprisonment ends.