No mandatory sentencing for assaults on frontline staff

A PETITION to introduce a mandatory sentence of six months for anyone who assaults frontline workers, including paramedics, nurses, doctors and police has been rejected. 

The petition was put to the government in November and on Tuesday the Attorney-General tabled her response. 

Within the letter, Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath stands by the current sentencing system. 

"This Government has confidence in the ability of Queensland courts to impose appropriate penalties," the letter reads. 

"Giving judges and magistrates discretion in sentencing is important because no two offences are the same. 

"Sentencing is a complex process that requires the balancing of a number of competing issues."

The decision has been slammed by both the paramedics and the opposition which has taken aim at the state government's "soft approach on crime".  

Shadow attorney general Ian Walker has hinted the issue will be a major focus at the next election saying the LNP "will stand up for our hard working frontline emergency service workers."

"It's clear that under Labor's soft on crime approach, the problem is getting worse," Mr Walker said.  

"The LNP team has been talking to frontline staff about this issue, including mandatory jail time and we will have more to say in the coming months.  

"The contrast will be clear at the next election." A paramedic has posted an open letter on the Triple Zero Tolerance Facebook Page saying while the maximum punishment for serious assault is 14 years - the only punishments dished out are slaps on the wrist. 

"The Queensland government has taken quite the virtual stand on those guilty of such offences, with threats of up to 14 years imprisonment," Greg Golds wrote.

"That is what has been promoted via advertising, but in truth, we continue to see slaps on the wrist, suspended sentencing, or degrees of lenience that are not in keeping with the expectations of the Queensland public."

Ms D'Ath's response mentions a meeting of the independent Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council which plays "an important role in sentencing". 

Within his open letter Mr Golds has asked the Attorney General to provide details of the meeting including the date, time and location, details not included in the Ms D'Ath's response.   

The union that represents Queensland paramedics, United Voice, chose not to comment. 

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