Legislative Council: Wednesday, March 08, 2023


McKenzie, Mr I.B.

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD (14:59): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking a question of the Attorney-General regarding the imminent release of Ian Bruce McKenzie from prison.

Leave granted.

The Hon. D.G.E. HOOD: Ian Bruce McKenzie received a life prison sentence for the prolonged torture and murder of a teenager back in 1996, with Justice Kevin Nicholson referring to the acts perpetrated by McKenzie and four other offenders as 'cruel and inhumane'. McKenzie will now be eligible to apply for release on parole in just two months' time. My questions to the Attorney-General are:

1. Is the Attorney-General convinced that it's safe for McKenzie to be released back into the community?

2. Is the Attorney-General satisfied that someone who has been found guilty of torture and murder should ever have the opportunity to be released back into the community?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:59): I thank the honourable member for his question. Certainly, in decades gone by it was executive government, through cabinet, that determined the release of those sentenced to life terms for parole. That was changed some time ago—and I think rightly so.

It is the Parole Board that makes those determinations. I think the Parole Board, with the experience that the Parole Board holds—and I think all members will know just how well-respected the Parole Board is, particularly under the very long-term stewardship of Frances Nelson KC—is in a better place than elected politicians to make decisions with the information that they have, as had been the case in decades gone by.

These decisions are, under our legislation, matters for the Parole Board to consider, taking into account all the information that the Parole Board has in terms of the rehabilitation of a prisoner and the safety of the community, should the person be released. I am confident the Parole Board will take the relevant matters into consideration in this, as they do in other matters when they consider parole.