A campaign pushing for Australia to raise the age of criminal responsibility has accused federal and state governments of suppressing evidence that supports the proposal.
The Raise the Age campaign says large volumes of evidence from legal, health and youth experts haven’t been released because governments “lack the political will to act.”
The council of attorneys general has been investigating potential reforms to the age of criminal responsibility, and in 2018 received more than 90 submissions from youth, legal and medical organisations on the matter.
Most of the submissions have never been released publicly, despite to do so and freedom of information requests.
Meena Singh from the Human Rights Law Centre, which made the rejected freedom of information requests, says the inactions of the nation’s chief law officers “beggars belief.”
“We know the government has this evidence to support making this decision, so we’re not sure why they’re being reluctant about it.
We’ve got Closing the Gap targets that governments have committed to, that commit to reducing the incarceration of Aboriginal children and this legislative reform is a very clear way to contribute to that.”
The inaction has also been condemned by the Change the Record Coalition, with co-chair Cheryl Axleby saying the evidence showed ten-year-old children belonged with their families, not in jail cells.