State Government introduces tougher legislation for child killers

Convicted killers could now face life in prison if they’re found to have had callous disregard for their victims.

The State Government introduced tough new legislation, tweaking the definition of murder to now include ‘reckless indifference to human life’.

They’ve also increased penalties for certain child-harm related offences.


Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said stronger sentences will now be handed down when people take the lives of Queensland’s most vulnerable – including children, the elderly and the disabled.

“This legislation seeks to capture those child manslaughter cases at the ‘higher end’, those involving violence or significant neglect but where intent to kill or cause grievous bodily harm cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt,” Ms D’Ath said.

It comes after an inquiry into child homicide sentences, carried out by the Queensland Sentencing Advisory Council and commissioned by the State Government.

“The findings of the independent body, comprised of legal representatives and community advocates, reflected community concerns that the system was not working when it came to child manslaughter sentences,” Ms D’Ath said.

“This legislation implements QSAC’s recommendation to add an aggravating factor to the manslaughter of a child under 12, which will increase the lengths of sentences.

“This reform will ensure the community can have confidence that courts are focusing on the defencelessness and vulnerability of the child victim when sentencing an offender for child manslaughter.”

Though the LNP have already slammed the State Government for not making the new laws tough enough, with LNP Leader Deb Frecklington saying more needs to be done.

“The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s new laws fall well short of what’s required to deliver punishments to child killers that meet community expectations.

“Labor’s laws merely tinker at the edges of a system that is tipped too heavily in favour of offenders.

“The current system will continue to fail our precious children.

“The community demands meaningful action to protect vulnerable children but Labor’s laws won’t deliver the justice victims deserve.