There is not much doubt that the majority of Australians believe judges to be too lenient in sentencing. Drivers have been convicted of dangerous driving and homicide and have been given suspended sentences. Premeditated murderers have had to serve only five years in jail.
It seems once judges get their positions they favor convicted criminals. No wonder state governments are looking at legislation to force courts into tougher sentencing. The South Australian government is planning new laws to limit the use of suspended sentencing. Chief justice Chris Kourakis claims this is interfering with the independence of the legal system vis-a-vis government and the executive. But if judges do not sentence and meet public expectations intervention is necessary.
Serial offenders are given a slap on the wrist and are released to continue their illegal behavior. Some even laugh their way out of court. Intervention is also needed to have the criminal history of suspected offenders known at trial. Why shouldn't past behavior be used against criminals?
Chief Justice Chris Kourakis says "In general, the greater the discretion that a judge has the more the judge can fit the penalty to the particular crime." However, most believe that judges are not doing this. He admits though that governments have always set the parameters used in the legal system.