Senator Sturge tells Government to "wake up and deal with crime"

Monday, May 16, 2016 - 20:00

Opposition Senator Wayne Sturge is calling on the Government to "wake up and deal with crime".

Sturge issued the following statement today:

"Prior to September 7, 2015, the Prime Minister led the populace to believe that both he and the party he subsequently led into government had the answers to issues related to crime and National Security.

Upon assuming office the Prime Minister and his government presided over the bloodiest month in our country's history (September 2015) and in the last 72 hours this country witnessed an unprecedented 15 murders adding to what will be another year of record breaking murders, with no respite in sight even with an unprecedented 3 ministers serving simultaneously in the National Security portfolio, all proving to be colossal failures.

On a related and equally troubling issue, fresh on the heels of the passing of the Strategic Services Amendment Act 2016, the Minister of Tourism has taken to mainstream media to complain about citizens posting the reality of our violent existence on Social media, Facebook in particular, making her the second government minister (the Prime Minister being the first) to complain about citizens use of social media, more particularly Facebook.

Firstly, I wish to condemn in the strongest possible terms the statements of the Minister of Tourism regarding the citizens use of social media, as her statements on this issue suggest a frightening innuendo which strikes at the heart of the fundamental rights of citizens to free speech which coming so soon after the passing of the Strategic Services Agency Amendment Act 2016 is even more troubling.

The Minister and her government must know that the country cannot be subjected to the culture of Balisier House where dirty linen must not be aired in public. Citizens have an enshrined right to freely express their concerns about unabated violent crime even if it serves to alert potential visitors of the risk they take in visiting our shores at this time.

Secondly, it is suggested that instead of seeking to suppress the rights of citizens to freely express their concerns in a medium of their choosing, the government should also utilize its freedom of expression to indicate what measures it intends to implement in the coming days to give citizens and potential visitors to our shores an assurance that something is being done to arrest the recent rise in violent crime, murder in particular.

It cannot be gainsaid that the failure of the government to outline at least one crime fighting measure since assuming office is totally unacceptable.

In the circumstances, I hereby call upon the government to awake from what is either slumber or stupor and within the next 7 days, indicate what (if any) crime fighting measures they intend to introduce, or in the alternative to admit its incompetence and thereafter allow the citizenry to seek an alternative."