Planned unexplained wealth laws will not hinder crime in Tas - ALA

15th May 2013

The Australian Lawyers Alliance is concerned about planned unexplained wealth laws, soon to be tabled in Tasmanian parliament, after Attorney-General, Brian Wightman, flagged an upcoming Bill on the issue.

Mr Wightman is mistaken if he thinks introducing unexplained wealth laws will make any difference to criminal activity in his state,” Australian Lawyers Alliance WA President, Tom Percy QC, said.

“He should come to WA. Here we have forfeiture of fully explained and legitimately acquired assets such as inheritances and real estate,” Mr Percy said.

“We’ve had them for over a decade and, on top of this, we have laws that penalise totally innocent third parties,” he said.

“We have asset substitution laws that Henry VIII would have been ashamed of. And we still have an organised crime and drug problem that is out of control.”

ALA Tasmanian Director, Greg Barns agreed, “Mr Wightman is joining a cohort of other politicians looking to appear to be ‘tough on crime’ because such measures are politically popular as they play on community fears.

“Unexplained wealth laws will make absolutely no difference to organised crime. The Tasmanian Government would be far better investing in preventative programs to stop people entering the prison system and engaging with other criminals in the first place.

"Measures to reduce the alarmingly high levels of young people in Tasmanian jails would be a far better step, because jails provide the environment where low level offenders and youth mix with hardened criminals and serve veritable apprenticeships in covert criminal behaviour,” Mr Barns said.

Tags: Tasmania Criminal justice