Homeless: Why making it a crime won’t fix the problem



By James Petty, University of Melbourne

Melbourne Lord Mayor Robert Doyle has announced a plan to ban sleeping rough in the city. He did so last week amid significant pressure from both Victoria Police and the media.

When Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton called on the State Government to extend police powers, Doyle at first seemed to reject the idea. But he later said he would propose a new bylaw to the city council.

Ashton and Herald Sun columnist Rita Panahi have claimed that the people living on Flinders St, in Melbourne’s CBD, are not really homeless. They say new laws and powers are needed to “clean up the city”. Critics from the homelessness and community sectors argue this would effectively criminalise being homeless.


Read more here.

This story first appeared in Melbourne University’s Pursuit and was co-published with The Conversation. 

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