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Judicial CP - June 2000

Sunday Mail, Adelaide, 25 June 2000

RSL call to bring back the birch

MELBOURNE: The Returned and Services League will be asked to vote this week on bringing back the birch for people who assault children or bash the elderly.

A motion sponsored by the RSL's Morwell branch will seek support for a tough new attitude to violent offenders.

It is more than 40 years since a prisoner was flogged in Victoria, but ex-servicemen in Morwell believe it is appropriate punishment for cowards.

Morwell will also ask the RSL's State conference, which starts on Wednesday, to call for the return of hanging in Victoria.

It believes capital punishment is acceptable retribution for premeditated murder and major drug crimes. The motions will go to the RSL's national forum if passed in Victoria.

Morwell president, Mal Bugg, who is also the State vice-president, said courts were soft on criminals.

He believes the birch -- a bundle of twigs used for flogging -- should be administered to the cruel and violent. "Some people will say it is inhumane, but it is the behaviour of the criminals that is truly inhumane," Mr. Bugg said.

Civil libertarians attacked the proposals. Liberty Victoria vice-president, Jamie Gardiner, said the call reflected the RSL's detachment from modern society.

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