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Parole assurances are “fake news” says Ramsay

Liberal Member for Western Victoria, Simon Ramsay, has slammed the Andrews Government after it this week introduced a bill to reform parole laws just a day after Premier Dan Andrews told journalists his state had the “toughest parole regime” in the nation and that it was a “good thing.”

Mr Andrews gave the assurances on Tuesday morning after a 29-year-old parolee – who had ripped-off his monitoring bracelet – on Monday night murdered a man, took a woman hostage and shot three policemen.

He had been “allowed to walk the streets” on parole since December.

“It is (a paradox) that on the one hand we have the Andrews government trying to justify this person’s being on parole and on the other we have this bill,” Mr Ramsay told the Legislative Council.

The government’s Corrections Legislation Miscellaneous Amendment Bill 2017 has the support of the Liberal and National parties.

If passed by State Parliament, it will reform existing parole laws contained in the Corrections Act 1986 to expand the statutory categories which cover serious violent offenders and terrorism.

“The bill will introduce stricter parole laws for prisoners who have been convicted of aggravated home invasion, home invasion, aggravated carjacking, carjacking, defensive homicide and terrorism offences,” Mr Ramsay told parliament.

Brighton gunman and known Islamic terrorist Yacqub Khayre reportedly had a long and drug-fuelled criminal history spanning 16 burglaries, 15 thefts and several brutal assaults including a stabbing in the course of a robbery.

Khayre had reportedly twice set fire to prison cells while serving a lenient sentence for brutally bashing a woman and her father in a home invasion, before being sentenced to less than two additional months in prison for these arsons.

He was reportedly among four men charged in August 2009 over a planned massacre at the Holsworthy Barracks military installation in Sydney’s south-west, which connected him with Somali-based terrorist group al-Shabaab.

“He had known violent activity and also had been known to have been fully trained in explosives in a Middle Eastern country,” Mr Ramsay said.

“How is it that a person — from Somalia… — who has had significant training in explosives, …significant training in terrorist activities, who has been before the courts in relation to quite violent criminal activity and is now on parole is allowed to be able to walk the streets, free of any …constraint?”

Mr Ramsay told parliament Mr Andrews’ assurances, delivered from a platform shared with Victoria Police commissioner Graham Ashton, were “fake” and that his government’s belated moves to reform it were “hypocritical.”

“Talk about fake news,” Mr Ramsay said.

“The government (is) now trying to play catch-up in relation to coalition policy on parole reforms in relation to serious violent offenders and terrorism.