‘Time for tough love’: Jacqui Lambie’s old-school solution to rising youth crime

Jan 28, 2021
Jacqui Lambie says she's fed up with rising youth crime. Source: Getty.

Tasmanian senator Jacqui Lambie has called for a complete overhaul of the youth judicial system claiming that detention centres aren’t working and it’s time for more “tough love”. Speaking to Today on Thursday morning, Lambie suggested the government tackle youth crime by ordering offending children to complete national service or attend military-style bootcamps for rehabilitation.

Her call came after the tragic deaths of a Queensland couple and their unborn baby, who were hit and killed by a 17-year-old allegedly driving a stolen car while they were walking their dog on Australia Day. The perpetrator had reportedly been out on bail when the crime occurred, which Lambie said made her “terribly concerned”.

“Detention centres for our kids are not working,” she said. “It’s all about identifying these kids at 12 or 13 that are most at risk and working on them from then. It’s all about going back to emotional intelligence and teaching our kids and going back to disciplining them at school properly.

“It’s time for tough love. Whether that means we put the discussion of national service back on the table. Something needs to be done, this is not working. There are some great bootcamps out there, but because they’re too far right, and even though they’re successful, we’ve got the left fighting against the right and in the meantime we’re losing great citizens out there and our kids are spending the rest of their lives behind bars.”

Lambie’s support for the old-school tactics stem from personal experience as she sent her own son to a bootcamp several years ago. According to a report by Fraser Coast Chronicle, Lambie’s son had been struggling with addiction since he was 13 and in 2015, he was sent to Bob Davis’s Hard Yakka program in Fraser Coast to get his life back on track.

When speaking to the crowd of Hard Yakka supporters at the time, she said the government’s work on the issue was “very disappointing” adding that she was in “disarray to see the lack of support coming from the Queensland Government”.

Now, the senator is calling on Prime Minister Scott Morrison to take the issue to the Council of Australian Governments to be discussed among state and territory leaders. And she’s not the only one demanding answers with Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk also raising the issue at the heart of the couple’s “horrific” death.

“I want answers just like everyone else. I want to know why the courts allowed this young man out on bail. There will be a full coronial inquiry and this young man is now on murder charges, there will be a full court case and there will be a thorough police investigation. If there’s anything more we can do to strengthen our laws, we absolutely will.

“If they need to be tightened and strengthened, of course we will do that. Last year, we tightened up those laws where there was a presumption against bail. We tightened those laws, so there’s questions that need to be asked about why those laws weren’t adhered to.”

Do you agree with Lambie? How else do you think the judicial system could improve?

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