STEVE O’BRIEN, SOCIALISTALLIANCE
CRIME prevention is always better than cure. As legal and illegal drugs cause significant individual and community harm, Socialist Alliance advocates the implementation of evidence-based stances towards drug use focusing on health promotion, harm minimisation and regulation.
The underlying causes of drug dependency, such as poverty, social isolation, racism and family violence need to be addressed.
Such an approach would be in contrast to a ‘‘tough on crime’’ stance which obscures problems caused by inequality, unemployment and social service cutbacks, and can be used to justify anti-democratic laws.
In the meantime multimillion-dollar shady deals, such as those exposed in the recent corruption hearings, go unnoticed.
Institutions such as policing, corrective services and court recording must not be privatised and must remain under public scrutiny.
Some laws, such as abortion, should be removed from the Crimes Act.
Law and order needs to focus on domestic violence and corporate crime.
TIM CRAKANTHORP, LABOR
NEWCASTLE is known for its friendliness. Residents and visitors alike are entitled to continue to feel safe here.
Young people should be able to get home safely after a night out, and our senior citizens deserve to feel secure.
With population growth come the challenges of crime facing any Australian city and I will ensure our local police stations are properly resourced.
Labor will also expand Newcastle’s role as a major justice precinct, building on our funding of the new law courts.
We will introduce specialist courts to deal with domestic violence and sexual assault, aimed at addressing the under-reporting of abuse and reducing the trauma felt by victims.
In fact, this campaign, I have been proud to confirm the Hunter as an initial trial site.
Sadly the Hunter has a high incidence of domestic violence. While the Liberals have cut funding to shelters for women and youth, Labor will not let people fall through the cracks, and we are determined to break the cycle of abuse.
MICHAEL OSBORNE, GREENS
THE Greens support a humane justice system that focuses on genuinely addressing the causes of crime rather than increasingly punitive measures and curtailing civil rights.
In the pursuit of short-term electoral gain, Labor and Liberal exploit community fears and outbid each other with ever more draconian legislation.
The disadvantaged and powerless suffer most from this brutality.
This “law and order” approach has failed to reduce crime but has massively increased the prison population. It is expensive and damaging. It costs as much to hold a person in prison as it does to employ a teacher.
The Greens support early intervention measures such as better educational opportunities, which has been shown to reduce crime.
As a society, we should be looking to reverse the trend towards greater disparity between rich and poor, for example, as part of a broader reform of the tax systems, to promote greater equality and address poverty.
JACQUELINE HAINES, INDEPENDENT
ALTHOUGH I am heartened by the fall in alcohol-related violence since the introduction of the ‘‘Newcastle solution’’, we should also recognise that one size does not fit all when it comes to alcohol restrictions in the CBD.
For our night-time economy and small bar culture to flourish we need more co-operation between police, council and licensees.
On a broader level, the interests of the police do not always equate with the interests of the public and I am concerned by the number of politicians (state and federal) who lack the strength of character to defend our rights to personal liberty.
I respect the need for judicial discretion and I do not believe politicians should create laws that cut across the ability to assess the individual merits of cases.
JENNIFER STEFANAC, PALMER UNITED INDEPENDENT
“Police need to develop practical interagency connections”: Jennifer Stefanac.
NSW Police need to be highly visible in our streets and on our roads with more civilian staff to provide administrative functions to allow more officers in the field.
Police need to develop practical interagency connections to educate and minimise offending behaviours. This will reduce incarceration rates and the costs involved on many levels for the community at large.
The corrective services and juvenile justice systems are unfortunately experiencing growth and more treatment programs need to address living skills, access to training and supports to change anti-social behaviours to stop criminality.
KAREN HOWARD, INDEPENDENT
THE greatest demand on our police resources comes from areas such as domestic violence. These are statewide issues and need universal treatment.
Nonetheless I want to see an increase in police numbers in the city of Newcastle.
The recent closure of the Terrace Bar in Hunter Street put the spotlight on law and order in terms of how our city functions. The owner complained of ‘‘unreasonable’’ liquor licensing conditions in the city.
Small bars should play a vital role in the revitalisation of Newcastle and two liquor accords may be a solution to the dilemma.
A safe, vibrant evening economy means more people of all ages out and about and safety in numbers.
We have shown that improved safety on the streets is a co-operative effort. The government must do its bit through more policing and we must work with it to protect our community.
MILTON CAINE, CHRISTIAN DEMOCRATS
THE Summary Offences Act must again be put in place to assist the police in dealing with the disorderly conduct that is on our streets each and every night.
The rehabilitation of offenders must become a significant focus of the legal system. We are currently often returning increasingly angry people to our streets so that the expectation of a new offence is ever increasing.
The role and training of bouncers must face a close examination. Evidence suggests that some bouncers are the cause of the violent nature near our clubs and pubs.
There needs to be an intentional campaign to get rid of drugs from the community. It is common knowledge as to where drugs can be purchased and yet the supply continues.
So much of the aggressive behaviour on our streets is from drug-affected people. Currently little is being done on the streets of Newcastle to shut it down.
BRIAN BUCKLEY CLARE,INDEPENDENT
DRUGS are a growing problem and contribute to attacks on people and house break-ins.
When police breath-test drivers for excess alcohol they should also test for drugs of all sorts.
Anybody found on a public street or place in a drunken condition should be detained and locked up for a night and given a hefty fine.
People going to pubs and or nightclubs should be tested by security when entering the premises and if they are over the .05 alcohol limit they should be refused access to venues and advised to go home.
If they refuse to clear off the police should be called.
Too many persons are boozed up prior to arriving at these venues.
Another major problem is that some people who are over the limit are still being served by bar staff who are not complying with the RSA (Responsible Service of Alcohol) laws.