Uniting Church joins fight to retain sentencing options

Shadow Attorney-General Lara Giddings was today presented with a petition opposing the abolition of suspended sentences from around 200 members of the Uniting Church.


Ms Giddings said she met with the Uniting Church’s Dr Mark Zirnsak to discuss the retention of suspended sentences and the fears of petitioners should this option be removed as a sentencing tool.


“Both the Labor Party and Uniting Church are in agreement over the Liberal Government’s irresponsible plan to abolish suspended sentences,” Ms Giddings said.

“This is a decision based on politics, not on evidence.

“Opposition across the community against abolishing suspended sentences continues to grow in Tasmania.”

A recent study (Dec 2013) by Catholic Social Services in Victoria concluded that the safety of the Victorian Community has not been improved by the abolition of suspended sentences, but to the contrary, may have been compromised.


The report also points to evidence which shows that people who receive a wholly suspended sentence are less likely to reoffend than people who receive a fine and also less likely to reoffend than people who received a term of immediate imprisonment.


“The Liberal Government needs to listen to groups like the Uniting Church and Catholic Social Services Victoria and rethink its policy position,” Ms Giddings said.

“Vanessa Goodwin knows her position is not backed by expert opinion but she continues to stubbornly advocate for it.”