Mackay residents are sick of seeing criminals going unpunished, Federal Member for Dawson, George Christensen, told Federal Parliament in Canberra this morning.
In addressing a motion calling for alternatives to incarceration, Mr Christensen issued a thinly veiled warning to magistrates and the government: If criminals do the crime, they should do the time.
“Just about every week in the Daily Mercury, people are reading about serious crimes committed by repeat offenders going unpunished,” he said.
“These people are criminals; they have committed a crime. The criminals that we are breeding know that they actually will not go to jail and that they will not get punished.
“They keep committing crimes, starting with petty crimes and graduating to more serious ones. They know that they can be caught time and time again and that they will keep on getting warnings and probations.
“By reserving jail time for only the most serious of crimes, we are encouraging crimes of an increasingly disgusting and disrespectful nature.”
Mr Christensen questioned how some of the proposed alternatives to incarceration, including weekend detention, would provide a deterrent to potential criminals.
“Proper punishment is not weekend detention or periodic detention; that is stuff that you give to a 13-year-old—you ground them,” he said.
“Taking away someone's PlayStation and sending them to the watchhouse for the weekend is not going to be a serious deterrent in anyone's eyes.
“The problem is not that there are too many people in jail; the problem is that not enough people who commit heinous crimes against law-abiding citizens and their communities are going to jail.”