Locking up 10-year-olds without trial barbaric, says human rights group

The revelation that under new laws 10-year-olds could be held without charge for a fortnight shows politicians are badly failing to defend freedom while claiming to uphold it.

In making this comment today, the president of the human rights group Liberty Victoria, Jessie Taylor, joined the Law Council of Australia and others in condemning this decision by federal, state and territory leaders.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan says police have no powers to act against an 11-year-old would-be terrorist. 

Said Ms Taylor, “Given the swathe of terrorism laws introduced, it seems inconceivable that action could not be taken without the extra need to lock up a child for up to 14 days without charge. Jailing children who have not even been before the court is the hallmark of a barbaric society.”

She said Liberty hoped that cooler and more compassionate heads prevailed and both the child detention laws and those allowing people to be held for a fortnight without charge would be struck down by the Senate.

“It cannot be said often enough that cruel and clumsy laws such as these play into the hands of those who would attack both our way of life and the rule of law.”