Push for criminal age raise has in principle support
NT senator Sam McMahon has cited kids "knowing what they are doing" as a reason why the Territory should leave the age of criminal responsibility at 10, as the government indicates it supports raising it "in principle".
The Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT recommended the move to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 12 years old, which was tabled in parliament in November 2017.
The Australian newspaper on Thursday reported Attorneys-General from the commonwealth, states and territories were in agreement to increase the age of criminal responsibility, in a bid to stop young Indigenous teenagers from being incarcerated.
The NT News on Thursday sought NT Attorney-General Selena Uibo's comment, however was told she was unavailable and was instead provided with quotes from "an NT government spokesperson".
"The Territory Labor Government supports in principle the recommendation from the Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in the NT to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 12," the spokesperson said.
"Raising the age of criminal responsibility will require a government decision. There is not yet a set date for this decision," it said.
"At the national level, the Australian Council of Attorney-Generals is considering the policy implications of raising the age of criminal responsibility with the intention of creating national consistency across jurisdictions. No decision has been made."
Territory families minister Kate Worden also told Mix this morning the NT government would "watch the national discussion."
"It would be pointless … us raising the age
Both the CLP shadow Attorney-General Steve Edgington and federal senator Sam McMahon rejected the idea.
"We believe the current system is appropriate and allows the courts to make the correct determination," Mr Edgington said.
"Currently, under section 43AQ of the Criminal Code Act 1983, children between 10 and 14 'can only be criminally responsible for an offence if the child knows that his or her conduct is wrong'," he said.
Ms McMahon meanwhile said she had not spoken with federal Attorney-General Michaelia Cash about the issue, but supported leaving it at 10 years old.
"I think it's fair and reasonable where it is, a lot of these kids are well aware of what they're doing," she said.
"It doesn't mean we should be taking them and slamming them in jail - it means we need to have programs to help them."
"There's obviously a reason why they are committing crimes or anti-social behaviour or violent behaviour."
Originally published as National push for criminal age raising has 'in principle support'