The law and justice spokespeople for the main parties were put through their paces at a Community Justice forum in Sydney on the weekend ... Opposition parties want to make significant changes to the "penal colony" ... Labor is stuck with its record ... Tom Westbrook reports
Community Justice Coalition's pre-election forum on criminal justice and the NSW prison system provided a unique opportunity for voters to get within sniffing distance of the main contenders.
Organisers promised a glimpse of what is a rare beast in the era of the new paradigm – the policy speech.
The closest approximation on display was shadow attorney general Greg Smith's enthusiastic vision for "a better society".
As well as the usual raft of inquiries, he proposed to end the "penal" tenor of NSW's approach to criminal justice system. Instead, under the Coalition there would be a renewed focus on education and rehabilitation.
Smith added that what an O'Farrell government might actually deliver was, "for the leader to announce".
NSW attorney general John Hatzistergos and Greens MLC David Shoebridge were also in attendance with their parties' responses to a CJC questionnaire on law and order policies.