Governance, Finance & Justice

Government

  • Labor supports the introduction of a written Tasmanian Constitution which delineates:
    • that the source of Government authority is the consent of the people;
    • the responsibilities of the legislature, executive and judiciary;
    • the relationship between those arms of Government;
    • a suitable mechanism via which to work in partnership with the Tasmanian public to enable the amendment of the Constitution; and
    • a democratic, republican government.
  • Labor believes that every Tasmanian has a stake in the political process. Labor:
    • recognises that the relevance of Government policy is reliant on adequate community consultation;
    • will ensure that compulsory voting and registration continues in Tasmania, with automatic electoral enrolment on an individual’s 18th birthday.
    • will investigate electoral reform of the Legislative Council. This will involve widespread consultation with the Tasmanian public, MLCs and other key stakeholders. Issues to be canvassed include the introduction of simultaneous elections. Labor will introduce any improvements found to have strong community support ;
    • supports the public funding of election campaigns ;
    • understands that the decisions and actions of the State Government must be relevant, transparent and accountable; and
    • supports fixed term elections.
  • Labor believes that the Integrity Commission (which was established by Labor in 2009) is essential to promote ethical behaviour and awareness in government, including Parliament. To promote this aim, Labor:
    • believes that Tasmanians have the right to expect Members of Parliament to behave with integrity;
    • will develop appropriate mechanisms to deal with inappropriate behaviors within the PLP; and
    • will provide for ongoing leadership and management training for members of the PLP and all State Service employees.
  • Labor believes in open government and will make every effort to eliminate “commercial-in-confidence” and similar clauses from government contracts and will only retain these where there is a compelling reason to do so. Government contracts will normally be published, where they can be readily scrutinised by the community.

ALP Governance

  • Labor recognises there must be a clear link between Government processes and decisions made at State ALP Conference and, to ensure this occurs, the relevant Minister is to provide written feedback to the relevant Platform Committee within six months as to either:
    • how each resolution passed at a State ALP Conference will be put into effect; or
    • why the resolution cannot be progressed at that time.

Tasmanian State Service

  • Labor believes in having an impartial and dynamic State Service.
  • Labor will ensure that the Government is supported by a high quality State Service, as that will assist in improving transparency and accountability of Government processes.
  • Labor recognises good leadership is learned and must be based upon principles of integrity including:
    • dedication to the provision of evidence-based, expert advice;
    • dedication to promoting a culture of professionalism and dynamism in the provision of services to Tasmanians;
    • a commitment to the principles in the State Service Act 2000;
    • an engaged and valued State Service;
    • commitment to accountability and performance review at both service and individual level.
  • Labor believes in accountability and performance review at whole of government, agency and individual level is necessary if the State Service is to be an effective instrument in delivering the Government’s policies.
  • Labor recognises that engaged and empowered State Service employees are more productive and flexible.
  • Labor recognises that the independence and empowerment of the Auditor General is required to provide comment with regard to the performance of State Service agencies. To improve this performance an efficiency and management audit of each State Service agency should take place each five years, commencing in 2014.
  • Labor will ensure that ongoing leadership and management training is provided for members of the State Service including agency secretaries, statutory office holders and all State Service employees.
  • Labor will ensure that “Good Ideas Systems” are employed across the State Service in order to both harness and value the imagination, goodwill and dedication of employees in this sector.
  • Labor does not support the forced redundancy of any employee and will amend the State Service Act 2000 to remove this provision .
  • Labor will amend regulation 11 of the State Service Regulations 2011 making it consistent with the other Australian jurisdictions by removing unreasonable restrictions on state public sector workers right to make public statements .

Economy

  • Labor believes that, as a social democratic party, there should be appropriate government regulation of the economy including, but not limited to, appropriate State government budgetary measures, which will ensure the stability of the economy.
  • Labor believes that:
    • Tasmania has the human and physical resources to build a vibrant regional economy providing high levels of economic prosperity and social wellbeing;
    • trade unions, industry, the public sector, government, including Local Government and the Tasmanian community all play significant roles in the development of Tasmania;
    • a vibrant economy should exhibit a balance of positive economic, environmental and social outcomes; and
    • increasing productivity is the best guarantor of balanced prosperity leading to high employment, good quality jobs and a lively community.
  • Labor recognises that existing industries need to be encouraged and supported to innovate, and that new industries need to be developed. To this end, Labor will implement its Economic Development Plan, as it provides a comprehensive, whole of government framework that will guide Tasmania’s economic development.
  • Labor will create a more competitive business environment by:
    • measuring and addressing costs that impact on competition;
    • promoting business enterprise development and innovation;
    • capitalising on Tasmania’s natural environment and overall branding;
    • eliminating unnecessary regulation and making regulatory compliance more efficient;
    • building training systems which provide skilled workers with the capacity to gain well paid employment with increased job satisfaction;
    • promoting the capacity to engage in fair business practices;
    • promoting employment practices which enhance the recruitment and retention of a productive workforce; and
    • promoting a culture of accountability whereby the evaluation of major infrastructure projects is encouraged.
  • Labor will maximise the direct and indirect opportunities arising from infrastructure projects and avoid decisions which privatise public instrumentalities without there being a sound, long term benefit to the broad Tasmanian economy, including economic, employment, tourism, social and environmental considerations.
  • Labor will especially oppose the privatisation of Tasmania’s power network, or any part thereof and, in particular, it is opposed to the sale of the Hydro Tasmania and Transend Networks Pty Ltd.
  • Labor supports all Australian industries and, subject to any international trade obligations, supports the purchase of Australian made goods and services.
  • Labor will make representations to the Commonwealth Government with a view to having Commonwealth Government benefits indexed to Average Weekly Ordinary Time Earnings.

Financial Strategy and Taxation Policy

  • Labor believes that a sound financial strategy promotes industry development, employment opportunities and the achievement of an economy which can support positive outcomes relating to social justice.
  • Labor believes sound financial management is built upon the following principles:
    • raising adequate income to meet recurrent expenditure;
    • strong discipline to ensure that unsustainable deficits do not occur; and
    • borrowing funds for appropriate capital expenditure for the long term benefit of the Tasmanian community (for example, hospitals, roads and ports);
    • achieve savings in service delivery costs, in a way which does not significantly impact on such services.
  • Labor recognises that an excessive accumulation of government debt causes a decline in government services and an inability to stimulate economic growth.
  • Labor will enable improved government services through the provision of improved whole-of-Government strategies such as well-designed accounting systems, information management systems and communication technologies able to be used across all Government agencies.
  • Labor will encourage sustainable, appropriate investment in Tasmania which aligns with the branding of Tasmania in vital industries such as tourism and the food industry.
  • Labor will continuously monitor Tasmania’s taxation system and make changes where opportunities arise to improve efficiency and fairness.
  • Labor will review the concessions available to pensioners on water bills with a long-term aim of increasing this concession to fifty per cent of the total cost.
  • Labor will amend the Economic Regulator Act 2009 to require the Regulator to consider users’ capacity to pay in setting price determinations.
  • Labor will also amend that Act to introduce electricity price regulation for Pay As You Go (PAYG) customers.
  • Labor will consider the reintroduction of the Tasmanian Trainee and Apprentice Scheme (TTAIS) in respect of employers that employ apprentices and trainees undertaking training at a Certificate 3 level, or above, and who have a contract of training of two years or more.

Innovation Strategy

Guiding principles

  • Labor believes innovation in existing and new industries is the key to economic prosperity, high employment and quality jobs.
  • Labor recognises Tasmanian industries and workers have a proud record of innovation and Government support for innovation in Australia has been historically weak. Continued innovation is only possible with support from all levels of government.

Specific policies

  • Labor will develop an innovation strategy.

Industrial Relations

Guiding principles

  • An effective and balanced industrial relations system is central to:
    • the wellbeing of the people of Tasmania;
    • the maintenance of a just society; and
    • the achievement of a vibrant economy.
  • The inherent imbalance between employees and employers necessitates the existence of a sound industrial relations system to encourage good management principles to be implemented by employers and to protect the security of employees’, wages, working conditions and entitlements.
  • Employees must be treated equally in relation to wages and working conditions irrespective of gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation or disability or the sector in which their employer operates.
  • The definition of an employee in any legislation should prevent the exploitation of employees by designating them as sub-contractors or through other means that circumvent the traditional employer/employee relationship and the rights of the employee.
  • Workers compensation laws must safeguard the rights of employees who sustain health or financial disadvantage as a result of a work-place injury.
  • The rights of child workers must be secured through the implementation of laws that protect and improve the conditions of such employees.
  • The current system of penalty rates, which compensate employees for forgoing evenings, weekends and public holidays, must be maintained.
  • Every employee has the right to secure work with employment subject to a reasonable degree of certainty.
  • Employees must be able to take a collective approach in negotiating their working conditions in order to achieve fair outcomes.
  • The right of employees to withdraw their labour is a fundamental principle.
  • The State system must align with the Federal system where possible (and relevant) to achieve consistency across jurisdictions.
  • Employees in the private sector should enjoy the same conditions of employment as those in the public sector.
  • Negotiations should be based on co-operation and consultation between employees, unions, and employers; and underpinned by a legislative framework that protects the rights of all parties and meets Australia’s obligations under the International Labour Organisation (ILO) convention.
  • Work practices should ensure that employees are able to meet their responsibilities regarding home, family and community life.
  • A strong and independent industrial commission and a strong and vibrant union movement are vital to the fair and proper functioning of the industrial relations system.

Specific policies

  • Labor will:
    • commit to adequate funding to remove differences in wages and conditions that result from gender inequity, and to ensure that this funding is sufficient for this to occur with no loss of service.
    • support the 2012 decision of Fair Work Australia to correct gender based inequity in the Community Sector.
    • establish a Youth Workers Commissioner with the role of developing and implementing programs to educate young people about their workplace rights and responsibilities and to consult on legislative change which is aimed at the promotion of the interests of young workers.
    • support the retention of penalty rates at their current levels.
    • introduce child employment laws that ensure the rights of child workers are protected and quantify minimum standards for such workers.
    • introduce legislation to bring private sector long service entitlements in line with those applying to public sector employees.
    • implement a portable long service leave scheme similar to TasBuild. This will be achieved through the establishment and appropriate resourcing of an Advisory Committee consisting of appropriate stakeholders to make recommendations to government aimed at achieving this outcome.
    • Labor will implement an advisory committee consisting of government, union and employer representatives with the purpose of developing recommendations relating to the implementation of a portable long service leave scheme for workers in Health and Community Services industries.
    • amend the Workers Compensation and Rehabilitation Act 1988 to widen the definition of “worker” to prevent the exploitation of employees through arrangements such as sub-contracting which are designed to undermine employee conditions.
    • replace the 20% whole-of-person impairment threshold for accessing common law entitlements with a more effective and fairer model that better takes into account the injury and its effect on the injured employee.
    • ensure that all legislation relating to Workers Compensation is amended to ensure no worker is financially disadvantaged through sustaining a work-place injury.
    • adopt in full the recommendations as outlined in the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute – Criminal Liability of Organisations, Final Report No. 9, April 2007, in relation to Industrial Manslaughter.
    • continue its commitment to Clean Start and fast track the retendering of all contracts that have remained untested since the Treasurer’s Instruction 1126.
    • continue to guarantee job security and undertake no contracting out and provide safe and fair workloads for directly employed school attendants.
    • initiate a regulation and licensing system to govern Labor Hire companies and other entities that sell labour to other companies to protect workers and ensure these mechanisms are not designed to circumvent wages, conditions and access to Workers Compensation.
    • investigate the use of Host Responsibility Officers, whose task would be to identify and intervene when patrons are suspect of having a gambling problem.
    • investigate, and if required, regulate labour hire companies.
  • Labor will refer to the Australian Government the balance of private sector industrial relations in Tasmania to provide certainty for employers and access to modern awards by employees.
  • Maintain the Tasmanian Industrial Commission as an independent statutory body covering public sector employment.
  • Ensure that registered Industrial agreements are adhered to and apply sufficient resources to achieve adherence within both the Tasmanian and Federal systems.
  • Ensure the provision of online access to awards and formal decisions of both the Tasmanian Industrial Commission in regard to State Service matters and Fair Work Australia in regard to the private sector.
  • Review issues and develop protocols on workplace privacy e.g. email and workplace surveillance, and drug and other testing.
  • Ensure that the right of unions to enter workplaces to recruit and communicate with members and facilitate collective organisation is protected by appropriate legislation.
  • Encourage education and training about, and for, unions.
  • Pursue changes to provide for the resolution of industrial disputes by conciliation and, if necessary, by arbitration in a prompt and fair manner with a minimum of legal technicality.
  • Provide that the Tasmanian Industrial Relations Commission has the power to declare void any unfair, harsh or unconscionable employment and ensure that all employee entitlements are maintained in the event of transmission of business.
  • Pursue legislative changes to provide for interest at the same rate as applies to Supreme Court judgments to be awarded to employees in the event of underpayment of wages or other benefits.
  • Ensure that unions pursuing their legitimate industrial and social interests are not subject to civil actions for breach of contract, conspiracy, intimidation or unlawful interference.
  • Require employers who provide services to government to observe good industrial relations practices.

Employment

Guiding Principles

  • Labor recognises the importance of the apprenticeship system and other forms of workplace training.
  • Labor will prepare a discussion paper for the 2014 State Conference on the need for incentives to be developed and adopted by the Tasmanian Government in order to attract and retain workers within Tasmania.
  • Labor will encourage long term, permanent employment and discourage the casualization of the workforce.
  • Labor will encourage and implement industrial democracy and genuine worker participation schemes.
  • Labor will encourage Government agencies to provide entry points for the employment of young people and disadvantaged or displaced persons.
  • Labor believes that compulsory redundancy must be a matter of last resort. Whenever possible, terminations of employment through redundancy should be carried out on a voluntary basis.
  • Labor believes workers’ entitlements should be protected in cases where there is a transmission of business or in cases of company insolvency or restructuring.
  • Labor recognises that all workers have the right to challenge harsh and unjust dismissal through either the Tasmanian Industrial Commission or the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. The test of fairness in worker-related dismissals should include an examination of the procedure followed by the employer and also an examination of the validity of the reason for dismissal.
  • Labor will pursue changes to allow costs to be awarded against employers in unfair termination proceedings where it is found there is no valid reason for termination.
  • Labor will ensure that termination of employment must be for a valid reason as provided for in the terms of the relevant International Labour Organisation convention.

Occupational health and safety

  • Labor recognises the impact workplace injuries have on individual workers and their families. Labor believes that workplaces must be safe and every worker has the absolute right to go to work and return home uninjured.
  • Labor will amend workers’ compensation legislation to ensure that no injured workers will be disadvantaged financially, nor lose conditions of employment as a result of a workplace injury .
  • Labor recognises the benefit of early treatment of injured workers for the best recovery outcomes.
  • Labor believes that the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 should have a very strong focus on rehabilitation and return to work.
  • Labor recognises that the best outcomes for workers will be achieved through a collaborative approach between the injured worker, their employer, insurance provider and allied and other health professionals required to promote recovery and return to work.
  • Labor recognises that an injury to a worker causes an economic loss to society, being the cost of the medical treatment to the worker and the loss of productivity because the worker is incapacitated.
  • Labor will ensure that workers who are injured as a result of the negligence of the employer have the right of access to common law.
  • Labor will amend the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 by providing that the employer and insurer must prove that a partially incapacitated worker can obtain employment and the amount the worker can earn in any employment before the weekly payments of that worker can be reviewed.
  • Labor will amend the Work Health and Safety Regulations 2012 to confer upon union officials the right to enter premises where there are employed persons eligible to join their union, during working hours, to check on Occupational Health and Safety conditions.
  • Labor will amend section 81A of the Workers Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 to add another section (2) (c) that allows the employee to provide evidentiary material to the tribunal, which they intend to rely on the at the hearing of the matter to support their claim and allow workers who have had their weekly payments cut to be allowed to access provisional weekly payment where a dispute has arisen and where weekly payment have been withdrawn, until their case has been heard.
  • Labor is deeply concerned about the level of asbestos contamination in our Tasmanian homes, environment, community and workplaces Asbestos is a class one carcinogen with no known safe level of exposure. Labor will make every effort to:
    • ensure better compliance with asbestos regulations in our workplaces;
    • amend asbestos regulations to create a central registry for workplace asbestos registers and asbestos management plans;
    • introduce vendor disclosure of asbestos upon the sale of a property;
    • introduce landlord disclosure of asbestos upon leasing a property;
    • collate and distribute full medical statistics on asbestos diseases;
    • continue to support the Australian Workers Union and Cement Australia project at Railton;
    • continue to provide education to the broader community about asbestos, its risks and how to dispose of it;
    • provide safe, accessible, affordable, asbestos disposal mechanisms;
    • adopt a policy of “prioritised removal” of asbestos so that, over time the amount of asbestos on our island can be minimised;
    • develop measures to assist low income earners have dangerous asbestos professionally removed from their homes;
    • investigate establishment of a community fund to assist householders and community groups remove asbestos;
    • support a policy of “letters of exposure” to be given to Tasmanians who have been exposed to asbestos in their work or as bystanders in a workplace.
    • develop incentives for small to medium sized workplaces that may otherwise not be able to afford it, to safely remove asbestos; and
    • continue to support the advocacy and asbestos awareness programs run by the Asbestos Free Tasmania Foundation.
  • Labor believes that the common law ‘principal of finality’ is inappropriate in asbestos compensation cases due to the nature of the development of asbestos related diseases. Labor will remedy the situation by:
    • Legislating to exempt dust diseases from the Limitations Act 1974, again putting Tasmania on par with most other jurisdictions.
    • Legislating to enable asbestos disease sufferers to make a claim on a provisional basis, putting Tasmania on par with other Australian jurisdictions.
    • Ensuring that a claimant can apply to the court for an expedited trial and that recorded video evidence is admissible if the claimant dies before a decision on damages is made.

Law and justice

  • Labor recognises that it is imperative that action be taken to preserve human rights; that everyone has duties to the community and the exercise of a person’s rights and freedoms shall be subject only to such limitations for the purpose of securing recognition and respect for the rights and freedom of others.
  • Labor believes in human rights as set out in the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute’s Final Report No. 10 (October 2007) including:
    • the right to recognition as a person before the law including ensuring all persons have effective access to justice on an equal basis with others;
    • the right to be equal before the law and to equal protection of the law without discrimination and the right to equal and effective protection against discrimination;
    • freedom from discrimination;
    • the right to liberty and security of the person;
    • the right to humane treatment when detained;
    • the right not to be imprisoned for a contractual debt;
    • the protection of other rights and freedoms while in lawful detention;
    • the right to a fair hearing;
    • the right not to be tried or punished more than once for the same criminal offence;
    • the right to compensation for wrongful conviction
    • the right not to be tried or punished for conduct that was not a criminal offence when it was engaged in (freedom from retrospective criminal punishment);
    • rights in criminal proceedings;
    • the right to life;
    • the right to protection of the family and children;
    • the right of children to be protected from economic and social exploitation;
    • the right of children to special treatment in the criminal justice process;
    • the right to self-determination;
    • the right to privacy and reputation;
    • freedom of movement;
    • freedom of conscience, thought, religion and belief;
    • freedom of expression;
    • freedom of association and peaceful assembly and the right to form and join trade unions;
    • the right to vote and participate in public life;
    • the right not to be deprived of property except on fair and just terms;
    • the right of ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities to enjoy their own culture;
    • the right of Indigenous Tasmanians to maintain their distinctive identity, culture, and to use and maintain their language;
    • the right not to be subjected to torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
    • freedom from slavery and forced work; and
    • Freedom from genocide.
    • Labor will introduce into the House of Assembly, and support the passage of, a legislated Charter of Human Rights.
  • Labor believes in early intervention with children, young people and their families where there has been or there is the potential for involvement in the criminal justice system.
  • Labor believes the practice of our criminal system should reflect the presumption of innocence; and provide that a person who has been arrested has the right to apply to a judicial officer for bail.
  • Labor believes access to justice can only be realised if legal services are:
    • readily available to all Tasmanians; and
    • affordable, simple, fair and encourage speedy dispute resolution by conciliation (where possible).
  • Labor believes that an accused’s right to silence is integral to the criminal justice process. Labor believes integrity in the gathering of r evidence, including confessions, is critical to the delivery of justice.
  • Labor believes restorative justice builds a sense of community spirit and responsibility in the offender and aims to restore the victim and the community to their pre-offence state of security.
  • Labor believes Magistrates and the Judiciary are in the best position to set penalties and penal sentences and opposes minimum penalties.
  • Labor believes in a transparent process for appointing judicial officers.
  • Labor believes where there are issues relating to substance abuse, the Court will consider Court-mandated drug diversion.
  • Labor believes where there are issues relating to mental health of offenders, that mental health treatment be provided during incarceration; and where a lack of literacy is an issue for offenders, provide literacy programs during incarceration.
  • Labor believes victims are entitled to dignity and respect;
    • furthermore, Labor believes victims of crimes are entitled to compensation for physical and psychological injuries suffered as a result of such crimes; and
    • that protecting the anonymity of victims of sexual offences is vital to ensuring victims’ right to privacy and encouraging victims to report the incidence of sexual offences.
  • Labor believes that identifying offenders’ criminogenic needs and providing programs to address these needs, both during and upon release from incarceration will result in a reduction of recidivism.
    • that the main criminogenic needs associated with offending and reoffending are employment, accommodation, drugs and alcohol, mental health, education and social networks; and
    • that court-mandated drug and mental health diversion programs are an invaluable addition to the criminal justice system.
  • Labor believes:
    • where there are issues relating to substance abuse the Court should consider Court mandated drug diversion.
    • in relation to mental health and/or a lack of literacy, the prison system should ensure mental health treatment; and provide literacy programs during the incarceration.
  • Labor believes alcohol and/or substance-fuelled driving offences must be addressed in a manner which results in a change in community acceptance of such offences.
  • Labor believes alcohol-fuelled violent behaviour, particularly in and around licensed premises must be addressed by policies which curtail the promotion of alcohol and results in a change in community acceptance of such offences.
  • Labor recognises the full range of sentencing options need to be implemented to reduce reliance on the use of imprisonment as a sentencing option and that both rehabilitation and community protection need to be primary consideration in sentencing.
  • Labor recognises a primary aim of any laws or rules relating to debt recovery should be the reduction of the rate of default and the rehabilitation of the debtor.
  • Labor recognises there is no simple causal connection between the severity of punishment and the incidence of criminal activity. Preventing crime involves a whole of Government approach which provides effective education and training, alcohol abuse and problem gambling prevention, health and wellbeing services including mental health support services, early support for young families, as well as dealing with the root causes of poverty, alienation and inequality in any society.
  • Labor will continue to support the Anti-discrimination Tribunal.
  • Labor will also review the Anti discrimination Act 1998 and implement changes to ensure that bullying in the workplace is prohibited.
  • Labor will continue to strengthen and support legislation to adequately protect whistle blowers.
  • Labor will introduce journalist shield laws which provide journalists with the rights to keep sources confidential. The rights conferred will be at least as strong as those provided by the Commonwealth’s Evidence Amendment (Journalists Privilege) Act 2011 for federal jurisdictions.
  • Labor recognises the need to ensure that criminal laws are relevant to contemporary community standards of behaviour, including the following:
    • developing and implementing a drug harm minimisation strategy for Tasmania;
    • ensuring those who are dependent on drugs, and their families, have access to appropriate rehabilitation treatment, education and counseling programs; and
    • ensuring that prisoners who are dependent on drugs have access to rehabilitation treatment, education and counseling programs.
  • Labor will promote the safety of Tasmanians by:
    • conducting research into innovative solutions to dealing with intergenerational antisocial behavior;
    • ensuring the use of appropriate video technology such as the video-conferencing network in courts to the benefit of those applicants of restraint orders in the more remote areas of Tasmania; and video surveillance during the transport of prisoners and young people requiring detention at Ashley Youth Detention Centre;
    • implementing and evaluating a whole of government strategy to deal with family violence, including a review of the Family Violence Act 2004 to ensure that it is effective in protecting families, young people and children;
    • ensuring the public faith is maintained in the police force by maintaining an effective system to investigate and resolve complaints against the police; and
    • complying with the decision by the Council of Australian Governments that each jurisdiction will have adequate screening of people working with children in ether a paid or voluntary capacity.
  • Labor will ensure that Legal Aid is available to Tasmanians including Legal Aid for civil cases as far as financially practicable. Until there has been an adequate provision of Legal Aid, Labor will encourage pro-bono fee arrangements. Labor will also ensure transparency, accountability and fair dealings between members of the legal profession and their clients.
  • Labor will develop a system of reforms to:
    • review sentencing options;
    • examine ways to reduce reliance on the use of imprisonment;
    • improve methods of detecting and re-listing matters regarding breaches of suspended sentences and court orders;
    • implement a strategy to educate and enable community members and victims of crime to participate in the development of sentencing policy;
    • provide appropriate treatment, counseling and compensation to victims of crime who suffer personal injury including psychological injury;
    • protect the anonymity of victims of sexual crimes, as recommended by the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute;
    • improve rehabilitation and reduce recidivism;
    • initiate programs to divert persons convicted of offences and limit the reliance upon the prison system and focus on the offender’s rehabilitation and restoration to the Tasmanian community; and
    • provide that prisoners be given the right to vote where they have been sentenced to five years or less or have less than five years of their sentence remaining to be served.
  • Labor will assess the potential of government to play a greater role in encouraging and assisting debtors to take responsibility for the management of their own financial affairs.
  • Labor will take all reasonable steps to ensure that everybody feels safe and secure both in their home and in public places in Tasmania.
  • Labor will encourage a feeling of security including restraining sensational or dishonest reporting of crime.
  • Labor recognises that all Tasmanians have a right to privacy against inappropriate media intrusion.
  • Labor will ensure that information-sharing and privacy legislation adequately protects the privacy of Tasmanians.
  • Labor believes in a gender-neutral Marriage Act at Federal and/or state level. Labor will pursue marriage equality at state level including the recognition of same sex marriages conducted in other Australian and international jurisdictions.
  • Labor will review the regulation of the sex industry in Tasmania to ensure a safe, secure and properly regulated industry. Labor believes the State Government must present new sex industry legislation in this term of parliament, with paramount consideration given to the occupational health and safety of the workers in the industry and regulations to better protect the sexual health of the Tasmanian population must be a prime concern of the legislation and that moral objections to prostitution should not be considered in the formation of new regulations, which must be focused on practical concerns that deliver better outcomes in health, wellbeing and safety.
  • Labor supports “Dying with Dignity” legislation including an amendment to section 163 of the Tasmanian Criminal Code 1924, allowing terminally ill people to voluntarily choose to die with dignity, subject to the appropriate safeguards.
  • Labor believes adoption is an effective way of providing legal recognition for same-sex families and supports legislation to allow same-sex couples to be eligible to adopt children.
  • Labor believes Tasmanian women should not be at risk of criminal prosecution in the event they undergo a medical procedure to terminate a pregnancy.
  • Labor will vigorously pursue law reform to remove abortion from the criminal code.
  • Labor recognises the failure of the ‘war on drugs’ and the need for State and Commonwealth governments to work together towards a better response to the use of illicit drugs. Labor recognises that:
    • the Global Commission on Drugs Policy and the Australia 21 Roundtable have both called for a re-opening of the debate around the use of illicit drugs and the laws that police them.
    • the use of illicit drugs as a major public health issue which causes harm to individuals and communities.
    • drug use and drug addiction are health issues, not legal issues, and need to be treated as such.
  • Labor believes that people who engage in the trafficking, manufacture and sale of trafficable quantities of illicit drugs should face the full consequence of the law.
  • Labor supports the recommendations of the Australia 21 Roundtable Report released in April 2012 including re-opening national debate on prohibition and establishing an Expert Advisory Group to conduct stakeholder consultation and focus groups.
  • Labor will establish parliamentary inquiries to investigate the reform of laws relating to illicit drugs as a matter of urgency and adopt an illicit drugs policy which:
    • shows a firm commitment to harm minimisation practice, and commits to strengthening and expanding existing harm minimisation measures;
    • retains criminal sanctions and strong penalties for the trafficking, manufacture and sale of trafficable quantities of illicit drugs; and
    • re-opens the debate on prohibition of the possession and use of small quantities of illicit drugs.
  • Labor supports the recommendations the Tasmanian Law Reform Institute regarding Non-Therapeutic Male Circumcision. Labor will pursue the recommendations including:
    • enactment of a general prohibition on the circumcision of incapable minors with an exception for well-established religious or ethnicity motivated circumcisions;
    • enactment of legislation clarifying the legality of circumcisions performed at the request of an adult or a capable minor and governing situations where parents disagree about the desirability of performing a circumcision;
    • greater dissemination of accurate information on the known and potential effects and significance of circumcision;
    • the imposition of criminal sanctions for a circumciser who fails to meet minimum standards of care; and
    • enactment of legislation providing a uniform limitations period in which individuals can bring an action against their circumciser and extending the limitations period for individuals harmed by circumcisions as a minor.

Local Government

  • Labor will continue to work with Local Government through a cooperative and consultative approach to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the sector and to ensure local councils are responsive, accountable and delivering the services those communities need at the lowest possible cost.
  • Labor will promote democracy within Local Government by ensuring greater community participation in local council elections through introduction of compulsory voting, to ensure that councils represent the entire community, including younger people.
  • Labor will introduce all in, all out elections every four years (including for Mayors and deputy Mayors) from 2014 to ensure that councils can focus on what they were elected to do, and can be held accountable as a whole for what they have or have not delivered.
  • Labor will support voluntary amalgamations, if initiated by local councils, through the provision of expert advice where appropriate and the provision of data to help assess the case for amalgamation.
  • Labor will continue to develop and implement Partnership Agreements between the State Government and local councils, to cover such roles as community services provision, environmental responsibilities, the promotion of joint ventures, coordination of effort and information sharing, financial management and service delivery.

Family justice

  • Labor will ensure that children have access to justice, in particular, access to legal advice and legal representation.
  • Labor will:
    • ensure accessible and equitable justice for women and their children;
    • maintain a criminal justice system in which perpetrators are held accountable for their behavior;
    • ensure judicial officers, law enforcement personnel and other professionals within the legal system have appropriate knowledge and expertise;
    • design, implement and evaluate perpetrator treatment programs for early intervention where violence is emerging in a relationship, as well as for high risk offenders;
    • ensure that services meet the needs of women and their children, through strengthening services and workforce capacity and increasing access to safe accommodation;
    • provide counseling and support services to children affected by family violence (recognising the significant impact family violence has on children;
    • promote respectful relationships through building the capacity for prevention education, ensuring all children participate in respectful relationships education and supporting effective parenting;
    • provide leadership in building safe communities to ensure change is achieved and sustained, by focusing on prevention, strengthening community leadership awareness and understanding, promoting positive male behaviors and enhancing women’s economic independence; and
    • provide state-wide sexual assault support services for women.

Public housing principles

  • Labor believes the role of government includes a responsibility for ensuring that housing remains affordable for all citizens.
  • Labor recognises the cost of housing is becoming prohibitive and that the cost of land is a significant and increasing component of housing costs.
  • Labor will continue to provide access to social and/or public housing.
  • Labor will consider establishing ‘Public and Social Housing Principles’ in relation to public housing.
  • Labor will abide by benchmarks as agreed with the Commonwealth Government in National Partnership Agreements in relation to housing affordability.
  • Labor will construct public and/or social housing as part of a well-researched development plan for regional areas.
  • Labor will review and adjust as necessary, the income limits imposed on people when determining eligibility for home loans through state government home ownership programs.
  • Labor will review the administrative charges on home loans taken out by purchasers of Departmental public housing in order to evaluate the purpose and formulae used in determining the cost of this administrative charge.
  • Labor will ensure the repayments of low income home loans targeted to families/single people are affordable.
  • Labor will establish a special home finance scheme that:
    • gives priority finance in property settlements for the family home to the custodial parent where that person is the applicant; and
    • ensures that custodial parents dispossessed of their family home through property settlements can apply for low-cost housing loans to purchase a future home.
  • Labor will continue to provide a range of schemes where low to moderate income earners with limited resources are able to purchase homes with assistance from the relevant government agency (currently the Department of Health and Human Services).
  • Labor will investigate the feasibility of a rental purchase scheme where people wishing to buy their own home are eligible for assistance under a rental purchase contract.
  • Labor will investigate an owner builder scheme where people, with or without land, who meet income requirements may be eligible to be financed to build their own home.
  • Labor will investigate a sweat equity loans plan whereby people without a deposit but who are willing to put work into bringing a house up to standard, may be eligible for a home loan where their hard work is their equity, including:
    • homes in need of renovation being purchased by the Department, (replacing flooring, roofing, weatherboards, general renovation works etc.); and
    • the cost of the home, plus holding fees, loans for materials and legal fees etc. being the amount of the loan to the purchaser.
  • Labor will enact legislation to identify and utilise vacant State, Commonwealth houses and or land for the purpose of public housing and/or joint ventures with the private sector.
  • Labor will adopt Commonwealth standards in relation to the rental of housing properties.
  • Labor will review Residential Tenancy Act 1997 for its effectiveness in enabling consultation with relevant interest groups. The primary objectives of this legislation review are to examine:
    • certainty to both property owners and tenants in relation to tenancy agreements;
    • appropriate dispute resolution between property owners and tenants which is easily accessible and understood;
    • the setting of minimum obligations and rights for both tenant and landlord;
    • the need for anti-discrimination measures in tenancy arrangements; and
    • acceptable processes for the setting of rent levels, maintenance, access and termination of the tenancy.
  • Labor will develop a mandatory code of best practice for boarding houses and other crisis accommodation support centres.
  • Labor will monitor recent legislation for boarding houses, and develop standards for their control.

Consumer protection and credit laws

  • Labor will give high priority to consumer education programs.
  • Labor supports a national approach to consumer protection that is encapsulated in the Commonwealth’s Competition and Consumer Act 2010, including the Australian Consumer Law Schedule.
  • Labor will strengthen the protection of consumers by ensuring consumer protection legislation is vigorously administered by providing adequate staffing and resources.
  • Labor supports a national approach to credit laws and therefore supports the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009.
  • Labor supports the Motor Vehicles Traders Act 2011 and the Motor Vehicles Traders Regulations 2012 for the protection of consumers in the purchase of motor vehicles.

Home building

  • Labor supports the building regulations administered by the Director of Building Control that require builders to be licensed and competent. Accordingly, Labor will enact legislation which:
    • protects new homes, additions or renovations; and
    • provides a consumer warranty to protect consumers against faulty materials, bad building practices or where a builder is unable to complete a job or goes into liquidation.