1. NSWCCL advocates for a juvenile justice system that:
- Prioritises the child’s best interests, including that it provides education equivalent to their rights within the community
- Caters for children’s specific needs, particularly in relation to age, physical and mental wellbeing and cultural background;
- Aims towards rehabilitation and social integration, not punishment, with detention only used as an absolute last resort in exceptional circumstances and for the shortest appropriate period of time;
- Upholds children’s rights, including the right to liberty, security, freedom from arbitrary detention, and to a fair trial;
- Ensures accessible and well-funded legal and social support services for children;
- Treats children with respect and dignity;
- Protects children from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment;
- Preserves a child’s relationship with family and community; and
- Together with other social and educational institutions, undertakes proactive, preventative measures to divert young people from the criminal justice system and prevent re-offending.
2. In light of Australia’s human rights obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and associated United Nations juvenile justice guidelines, NSWCCL calls for:
- The minimum age of children’s criminal responsibility to be raised from 10 to 12 years old across all Australian states and territories;
- The maximum age of criminal responsibility for young people to be raised to 18 years old;
- The abolition of mandatory sentencing for children and young people;
- The reduction of rates of young people in detention pre-trial on remand;
- Clearer and more consistent prohibitions on punishment for children in detention across all states and territories;
- The separation of young people younger than 18 years from adults in detention facilities, accompanied by the removal of Australia’s reservations to Articles 10(2)(b) and (3) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and Article 37(c) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child; and
- Ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the Third Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
3. NSWCCL supports policies aimed at reducing the incarceration rates of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. These policies should be developed in a way that is consistent with their rights under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, including but not limited to the right to self-determination, autonomy and freedom from discrimination.Read more
NSWCCL supports amending the law on marriage so that no discrimination is made between prospective spouses on the basis of their sex; in particular, so that same sex couples can be married, and that those who have same sex marriages they have entered into overseas are recognised as married in Australia.
The arguments supporting this policy position are set out in the following submissions listed below:
NSW Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Social Issues Inquiry into Same Sex Marriage Law in NSW
Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee concerning the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2010
Senate Legal and Constitutional Committee concerning the Marriage Equality Amendment Bill 2009