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QLD Opposition Proposes Law To Track Domestic Violence Suspects Via GPS Trackers

It comes following the death of Teresa Bradford two weeks ago.

15/02/2017 12:21 PM AEDT | Updated 15/02/2017 3:38 PM AEDT
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Tim Nicholls says the bill will allow fast-tracked appeal rights against the bail application process to ensure all appeals are finalised within three business days.

A proposed law in Queensland would allow GPS trackers attached to domestic violence suspects, as the State's the opposition accuses the state government not moving fast enough to protect survivors.

Over the past two weeks, opposition leader Tim Nicholls has introduced a suite of proposed measures aimed at toughening the state's bail laws -- changes which include reversing onus of proof for suspected violent offenders to prove why they should be given bail.

Nicholls, while standing next to the mother of murdered Gold Coast woman Teresa Bradford, said he will introduce a bill that, if passed, will allow magistrates to order GPS trackers onto domestic violence suspects.

"Currently appeals can take far longer, meaning victims are stuck living in limbo and fear," Nicholls said in a statement.

"During this time the alleged offender is out in the community -- but under the LNP's laws, the alleged offender will stay in custody while awaiting the outcome of the appeal.

"The LNP's Bill will also allow GPS trackers to be fitted to an alleged offender as a bail condition, to ensure the safety of the victim through the court process, which can often be lengthy."

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Teresa Bradford was killed by her estranged partner in a horrific murder suicide in late January.

Teresa Bradford was killed in a murder-suicide in late January by her estranged partner, David, who was out on bail.

Her tearful mother, Dale Shales, said during Nicholls' announcement it was time the law was changed.

"It's too late for my daughter, and I don't want it to be anyone else to go through what we're all going through," she said.

"Politicians need to realise that if it was their daughter, they'd be in here doing something about it. Please think about that and get the laws put through."

The LNP's Domestic Violence bail proposals

Measures announced in past fortnight:

  • Reversing the presumption for bail in domestic violence-related crimes such as assault, grievous bodily harm, deprivation of liberty, strangulation and kidnapping;
  • Introducing a DV Alert system to ensure victims and families will be notified when someone charged with domestic violence related crimes is being considered for, or has been granted bail;
  • The DV Alert system will also notify victims and families when someone with a DVO is being considered for parole, even if the reason they are in prison is not related to domestic violence.

Measures announced on Monday:

  • Introducing urgent appeal rights to the bail application process, meaning bail decisions will be stayed for up to three business days and referred to a higher court for review;
  • Allowing GPS trackers to be fitted to an alleged offender as a bail condition by the court to ensure that victims of crime are better protected throughout the trial process, which can be lengthy.

The LNP's move is likely to put increasing pressure on the government of Annastacia Palaszczuk. The state is expected to head to an election late this year, and the Labor government is slumping in the polls.

Just weeks before Bradford was killed in front of her four children, her estranged partner was granted bail over a violent attack against her.

Following her death, the Queensland Labor government announced it would possibly reverse the onus of proof for bail laws. Attorney-General Yvette D'Ath wants to examine how similar laws work interstate.

On Tuesday Premier Palaszczuk indicated that $200,000 had been set aside for technology such as GPS trackers.

"These things just don't happen overnight," The Gold Coast Bulletin quoted the Premier as saying, adding that "for Teresa" the Government had to ensure "the laws are right".

On Tuesday state parliament was told less than a third of the proposals from a major inquiry into domestic violence -- the Not Now, Not Ever report -- have been implemented by the government.

In June last year the Palaszczuk government committed nearly $200 million to domestic and family violence, which the government described at the time as a "trailblazing commitment to addressing domestic and family violence since accepting all 140 recommendations of the Not Now, Not Ever report".

Opposition domestic violence spokeswoman Ros Bates said just 46 of those recommendations have been implemented since the report was handed down on February 28, 2015.

Bates told parliament on Tuesday that women attempting to leave domestic violence situations end up finding out that services are often not there to support them.

"We have seen 9,000 women and 13,000 children thrown into dangerous motels because a lack of crisis accommodation means that they have nowhere else to go. We have seen more than 22,000 domestic violence protection orders flooding the courts each year," she said.

"In all, despite the way forward being written there in black and white, only 46 of the 140 recommendations of the Not Now, Not Ever report have actually been implemented.

"At this rate we will be waiting years for this roadmap to be fully laid out, but victims simply cannot afford to wait any longer."

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