Youth Justice Amendment Bill No. 16 of 2016 - Second Reading Speech
Mrs Armitage (Launceston) - Mr President, I agree with the comments that have been made. I thank the honourable Leader for bringing this forward. I, too, have been to Ashley on occasions with my work previously with Whitelion. Only on Monday at 5.45 a.m. I received a call from the police station about four youths involved in some things they should not have been involved in. I get called in as an independent person, so I get to see firsthand as well the kids that actually get sent away and what they have done. It is a very sad situation, so I also agree it should be a magistrate who can hear all the reasons behind why they have not turned up to their supervised release orders.
I recall some time ago I was called in for a youth that had a similar circumstance. He had been released from Ashley and was on a supervised release. He had missed his first one. Because he had missed the first one, he was afraid he would get in so much trouble so he missed all the others on purpose. He was riding a bike and the police saw him and caught him. He was charged with giving a false name and address because he was so afraid, having missed the first one and having missed the others, that he was not wanting to give who he really was. I do an independent person roster, so if they do not have someone who can be called in, you sit there with the officer so they can interview underage people. You make sure their rights are upheld. When he came to court or the police station, he said, 'I was so afraid. I knew I was in trouble because I missed the first supervision. When I saw that, I thought I cannot make any others because they will send me back'.
We have to remember they are underage. Many of them might look like adults because of their size. Sometimes I see them and think, this could be someone who is 20, but they are actually 14 or 15. We have to remember that they really are children. This particular boy I saw, I said to him, 'What school do you go to?' He was 15 and he told me the name of a primary school. I said, 'No, what high school do you go to?' He said, 'I have never been to high school. It was too late for me'. I thought how sad a situation. I see things like this and bear in mind how sad it is.
We see the things these kids do. I accept they can do some terrible things. They can do some things just as an adult might do, but we really have to do all we can to try to get them on the right path. I see this certainly as assisting. I thank the Leader for bringing it forward and I agree with the comments made.