Shame shame, Derryn Hinch set for the Senate

Derryn Hinch appears set to win a Senate seat in Victoria. The law-and-order candidate wants to erode the rights of people who have committed a crime and those who have allegedly committed a crime.

According to his party’s website, bail should not be granted to anyone facing trial for a violent crime. It says that it is “owed” to the public to keep alleged criminals off the streets by removing the ability of judges to weigh up the potential threat posed by someone compared to the serious issue of denying them liberty.

He supports greater police powers and tougher sentencing, not tempered by precedent. Furthermore, he wants to set up a public register of anyone convicted of a sexual offence. Such a register would essentially mark anyone on that list for life, making it nearly impossible for them to work or study or live without constant fear of being targeted by vigilantes.

In reality, people from a low socioeconomic background and non-whites are disproportionately likely to be incarcerated. This is because a lack of social services contributes to the incidence of crime and because of the bias of the “justice” system, which advantages the wealthy and privileged. Perhaps the greatest proof of this is Hinch himself, who admitted, in his book The Fall and Rise of Derryn Hinch, to having sex with a 15-year-old when he was in his 30s. That fits the definition of statutory rape in Victoria. He claimed that he “thought she was about 25”. Andrew Bolt called for Hinch to be prosecuted. He wasn’t, and years later said that he found out that she was actually 17.

He has been charged for violating the privacy of several alleged sexual predators. Having a man in parliament who sees himself as a real-life Batman, happy to act as judge and jury, is not a good outcome.

Given the likely make-up of the new Senate, the government might need to negotiate with Hinch to get legislation passed. Punishing convicted or alleged criminals is often a very easy and popular thing to offer, even if the cost is a dramatic erosion of civil liberties.