Indigenous deaths in custody a ‘national crisis’
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian yesterday said she was “deeply concerned” about the death of a 37yo Indigenous man in his prison cell in Cessnock on Tuesday. He was the 6th Indigenous person to have died in custody since 2 March and the 4th in NSW. It’s a situation Berejiklian says she feels “very strongly about,” adding that “too many people of Indigenous heritage are behind bars and shouldn’t be.” This month marks 30 years since the final report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody. Since then, 475 Indigenous people have died in prisons and police cells around the country.
WHAT’S GOING ON?
Good question. “Just this morning I read a report … on how the Royal Commission had not been implemented, and part of it was due to systemic racism, and part of it was about not the appropriate medical attention being provided to Aboriginal prisoners,” Federal Labor’s spokeswoman for Indigenous Australians and Wiradjuri woman Linda Burney said yesterday. Across the board, politicians and advocates again noted that the situation is unacceptable. And many called for the Royal Commission’s recommendations to be implemented, with about a third going unactioned. Indigenous Aussies continue to be overrepresented in the criminal justice system – a situation NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman says is “a product of many complex factors for which there is no single or simple solution.” Apryl Day, the daughter of Tanya Day who died in a Melbourne police lockup in 2017, is seeking a meeting with PM Scott Morrison. “We’re just being ignored. We continue to die in custody, and it’s a national crisis,” she said yesterday. The latest deaths are being investigated.
You know there is… A group of 800 Indigenous people from the Northern Territory started the ball rolling on legal action yesterday in a bid to secure compensation for the forcible removal from their families as kids last century. Lawyers say 6,000 people could be eligible to join the class action that was filed in the New South Wales Supreme Court after compensation for Indigenous Territorians who were victims of the Stolen Generation wasn’t forthcoming. In recent times, the states have made $75,000 redress payments to those affected. They’re coming Canberra’s way because the Commonwealth administered the Top End until the territory became self-governing in 1978. Lead lawyer Tristan Gaven said the Feds should cough up because it’s “an important first step in acknowledging the pain and suffering that those people have suffered.”
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