THE family of late local doctor, Ashley (Ash) Gordon are calling on the state government to strengthen police powers and crack down on reoffending criminals on bail.

Dr Ash died earlier this year aged just 33, following an alleged violent stabbing. His death was reported nation-wide after chasing two burglars in Melbourne after his home was broken into by suspected youths aged 16.

His death rocked the Latrobe Valley community, and was felt by the more than 500 mourners who came to Kernot Hall to pay their respects at his funeral.

The Gordon family gathered in Kay Street Gardens, Traralgon last Friday to formally launch a Parliamentary Petition calling on three changes:

-Amend legislation to afford police greater stop and search powers;

-Reinstate Section 30B of the Bail Act, and;

-Cancel plans to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14.

The petition has received the backing of Member for Morwell, Martin Cameron, who said no family should have to suffer what the Hazelwood North family has.

“With talking to the family in things that we can do, (they are) very, very passionate about starting a petition that I will be able to table in Parliament on the family’s behalf and in memory of Ash,” he said.

“We have to do our bit to make sure that this doesn’t happen again, it is an ongoing daily occurrence unfortunately, and the family want to present this petition so no other family has to go through what they’ve been through with the loss of their son, their brother and their uncle.”

The petition hopes to attract 10,000 signatures over the next six months.

Speaking of the proposed changes, Mr Cameron said they were all ultimately aimed at making the community safer.

“Police need greater powers,” he said.

“I have children myself and I will feel safer if the police can walk up to a known perpetrator or someone who looks to be doing the wrong thing and actually asks them to stop and search them if they think they have a concealed weapon.”

With the petition seeking to keep the current age of criminal responsibility at 10 years of age, Mr Cameron moved to reassure the stance was not without a level of support for troubled youths.

“We need areas for the kids that are being coerced, we need them to be able to go to places, as down here in Latrobe Valley Youth Space, that we can get them in these programs that gets them off the street,” he said.

“It is a terrible cycle that we are in, we cannot arrest our way out of it, we need the wrap-around services to go with it.”

The Gordon family stood in solidarity at the petition launch, wearing t-shirts depicting Dr Ash.

Older sister Natalie spoke on behalf of the family.

“We just hope to see everyone get behind this petition and support some change so that no one else ever has to feel the pain that we’re feeling,” she said fighting through tears.

“There is no words to describe how much we miss him, you find yourself going through moments ‘oh I’ll just text this to Ash’, or ‘I wonder what Ash would think about that’, and it hits you all over again.

“It’s a sad world when we lose someone who was in the position my brother was in. He was a great doctor, sought after by so many of his patients, this has affected more than just our family, it has affected his patients, his friends, it’s reached our entire community.”

Natalie hoped the petition would make those in positions of power sit up and take notice.

“This is a small step in what is hopefully the right direction,” she said.

“If we can get as many people, if not everybody, it shows the government that we mean business.

“We are sick of being scared, we are sick of having houses broken into on the daily. It’s not fair, it’s spreading from elderly to the young people, it’s just not fair, people need to be safe in their homes, in their towns, we need to show them (the government) that as a community, as a state, we mean business.”

Remembering her brother, Natalie said he left behind an indelible mark on all those who knew him.

“He was always just that cheeky personality that would have fun banter with everyone,” she said.

“Today that shows with his patients, they all describe him as a cheeky, bright smile, happy person who cared deeply about each and every one.

“He made them all feel like they were the most important person in his life when they walked into his office.”

Fittingly, Natalie and Ash’s mum Catherine were among the first to sign the petition.

A hard copy of the petition is available throughout the region, and online via Martin Cameron’s office.

For petition locations, ring Martin Cameron’s office on 03 5133 9088 or call into 12-14 George Street, Morwell.