"Spacious wriggle room" allowing violent offenders to get out of what are supposed to be mandatory jail sentences for attacking emergency workers needs to be fixed, according to MP Tania Maxwell.
The Wangaratta-based MP outlined her argument to Victorian Parliament on Wednesday, detailling examples of criminals who have been spared the minimum six months of jail time - including Orion Harding, who violently attacked two paramedics in Wahgunyah while drunk then resisted arrest.
But her plea for the Parliament to step in and strengthen the legislation did not work, with the Labor Party and other minor parties - including Wodonga Liberal Democrat Tim Quilty - voting against the motion.
This means magistrates and judges will continue to have discretion over whether offenders have shown "special reasons" why they should not be imprisoned.
Ms Maxwell said she usually did not support mandatory sentencing, but in the case of these "terrible ongoing acts of violence", it should be MPs' job to step in and correct the justice system.
She said there was "community outrage at the leniency of the punishments consistently applied to these offenders".
"There is simply no credible reason why such attacks should be excused over and over again, by something less than a mandatory minimum jail sentence," she said.
"There is a mounting perception that they are affording less recognition and right to victims of crime than those who are committing the crimes themselves."
The MP said she would be happy to compromise with suggestions from other parties if it led to a solution, and also suggested funding detailled research into the reasons behind assaults on emergency workers and how they can be prevented.
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"What does it say about us as a society and a Parliament if we cannot even protect, in their moment of need, those whose collective job it is to protect all of us," Ms Maxwell said.
"We want to send the unequivocal message to the state's emergency workers and want it to be heard far and wide that we salute your bravery, your courage, your selflessness in looking after Victorians everyday that you're at work."
She quoted Premier Daniel Andrews from last year, who said "if you attack an emergency service worker, jail will mean jail, it's as simple as that".
Labor MP Sonja Terpstra said on Wednesday the party supported statutory minimum sentences, not mandatory ones that could lead to "unjust" time in jail for people with dementia or an intellectual disability.
"Sending someone to prison for a mandatory term, simply doesn't make sense," she said.
Ms Maxwell's colleague from Derryn Hinch's Justice Party supported her motion saying there was a "divide between Parliament and the real world" and his blood was boiling listening to "these people" arguing against mandatory sentencing.
The Liberal Party and Shooters and Fishers also supported the motion.
"The government, by opposing this motion, is simply delaying the opportunity to fix their own policy, despite calls from unions, the Police Association and workers who felt protected by this law," Ms Maxwell said on Wednesday evening
"The current state of affairs is unacceptable.
"The state's courts are frequently thwarting community expectations and discarding the recognition and rights of victims over perpetrators of vicious attacks on our emergency workers."