Lawyers welcome Greens’ move to decriminalise begging in Tasmania

26th Oct 2023

The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has welcomed the announcement from the Tasmanian Greens that they will table a Bill to decriminalise begging in Parliament next week.

“This outdated offence makes extreme poverty a crime,” said Ms Rowena Macdonald, state president, ALA. “Criminalising begging is a ridiculous response to a serious social problem.  

“Treating begging as a crime ignores the health, social housing and cost of living crisis we are experiencing as a community. It discriminates against vulnerable people, including Aboriginal people, the homeless and those experiencing mental health issues.

The Australian Lawyers Alliance have been calling for this law to be reformed for a decade.

“We need to finally see this offence repealed,” said Ms Macdonald.  “It is time that we had a more compassionate and effective approach to addressing this problem. 

“Charging people for begging does not prevent its occurrence, but it does unnecessarily entangle people in the criminal justice system.”

Tags: Tasmania Criminal justice