Canning Liberal candidate Andrew Hastie has called for the state government to investigate doubling mandatory jail sentences for people who endanger children with methamphetamine, also known as ice, as part of his plan to tackle the drug.
Mr Hastie has also called on the state government to re-examine first offence mandatory jail terms for adults caught selling methamphetamine to a children.
The proposed changes would mean that if a child was harmed during the manufacture of ice they would receive a two-year mandatory jail sentence and if an adult was caught selling ice to a child they would receive a 12-month mandatory jail sentence.
“The issue of ice and related crime in our community has been alarming and I am hearing families and businesses from Armadale and Mandurah to Boddington and Waroona say to me loud and clear – we have to try something new to fix this problem,” Mr Hastie said.
“Mandatory sentencing was brought in because the community was sick of seeing people who commit serious offences getting off with a slap on the wrist.
“By doubling the mandatory jail sentences imposed on manufacturers of ice and dealers, particularly when they harm children through making the drug, we can send a strong message and make our streets safer.”
Police Minister Liza Harvey, who is responsible for the state’s mandatory imprisonment laws, said she would work with Mr Hastie on law and order issues and how state and federal agencies could collaborate to combat drugs if he should win the byelection.
“Mr Hastie is the stand out candidate in the Canning byelection and it’s no wonder he sees the merit in this state’s tough laws when it comes to protecting children from methamphetamine,” she said.
Canning Labor candidate Matt Keogh said he did not support mandatory prison terms.
“What we’re concerned about is having an approach that works,” he said.
“Seven years of the Barnett Government so far has led to WA becoming the ice capital of Australia.
“We want to have an approach that works.”
Senior Labor frontbencher Chris Bowen, who was campaigning in Mandurah on Thursday morning, said Mr Keogh’s history working as a lawyer bolstered his credentials in dealing with drug-related crime.
“As Matt has said, he’s a former federal prosecutor, he’s actually put drug dealers behind bars working closely with law enforcement agencies, with the police,” Mr Bowen said.
“Matt has the track record of actually dealing with these issues and dealing with solutions that work.”
Mr Keogh said he had experience prosecuting a range of crimes.
“I did sentencing on drug crime, I did sentencing on people that tried to import child pornography into this country, I’ve worked across the gamut of federal crime and that’s important work to be doing,” he said.