Thursday 31 August 2023
Liberals and Nationals propose amendments to get bail reform right
The Victorian Liberals and Nationals are proposing sensible amendments to the Bail Amendment Bill 2023 to get the balance right.
While there is no doubt that Victoria’s bail laws require reform, as the ballooning number of people held on remand indicates, community safety must always be the top priority.
The Andrews Government’s Bill proposes significant changes to the Bail Act which will lead to many more accused persons being granted bail. The amendments moved by the Liberals and Nationals will better ensure that the right test for bail is applied in particular circumstances.
The amendments proposed by the Liberal Nationals Coalition are as follows:
- Retain the offence of “committing an indicatable offence whilst on bail”. This will ensure that those who breach their bail by committing a serious offence face a stronger bail test if they seek to be released again.
- Add eight serious offences to the “show compelling reason” bail test applicable to those aged under 18. Offences including rape, armed robbery and aggravated home invasion should trigger a higher test for bail.
- Require a review of the bail changes after two years of operation, to be publicly released within six months. This will give the community the opportunity to assess these changes and identify any unintended or undesirable consequences.
Shadow Attorney-General, Michael O’Brien, said: “We have said that we are willing to work constructively with the Andrews Government and others to get bail reform right. These positive amendments demonstrate that we are delivering on our commitment.
“Having people held on remand who pose no material danger benefits nobody. Indeed, it costs individuals their liberty and it costs taxpayers a significant amount.
“However, community safety would be strengthened by the adoption of the Liberals and Nationals’ amendments.
“I call on the Andrews Government and the cross-bench to back our amendments and ensure that bail reform delivers without compromising community safety.”