NACCHO justice ANTaR campaign support: Abbott Government delivers a blow to Aboriginal Justice

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The defunding directly targets ATSILS work with governments to address the drivers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration.

The cuts will mean that even more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will not be able to access essential legal services and will result in more people ending up in prison.”

Abbott Government delivers a blow to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice

ACTION -URGE THE PM to REVERSE THE DECISION HERE

For the last year we have been working towards establishing a national campaign to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the criminal justice system.

Australia’s First People’s are dramatically over-represented in prison statistics. Although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people comprise only about 2.5 per cent of the Australian population, they make up 26 per cent of the total prison population. This is an imprisonment rate 14 times higher than the non-Indigenous rate.

ANTaR is campaigning to change this unacceptable situation. Significant campaign activity has  been instigated around the release of ‘Doing Time – A Time for Doing : Indigenous youth in the criminal justice system’; the Standing Committee of Attorneys General recommedation that specific COAG targets be set; and the 20th anniversary of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.

Our campaign goals are to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in prison and to end Aboriginal deaths in custody.

  1. Aboriginal people are severely over-represented in the criminal justice system.
  2. Decades of inaction on this issue mean the situation is getting worse. Despite the existence of major policy reports and numerous recommendations, most notably the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADC) report, governments have failed to act.
  3. The national Closing the Gap strategy currently does not include imprisonment issues or a justice target. This is a missing link and means there is little national coordination and no national focus on imprisonment rates.
  4. Aboriginal people continue to die in custody – 270 people since the RCIADC report in 1991.
  5. Growing prison populations mean increased costs for taxpayers without breaking the cycle of offending. The system is not working to prevent crime and is not sustainable.

What could change look like?

ANTaR is campaigning for:

  1. The national adoption of a justice target, which commits all governments to reducing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander imprisonment as part of the Closing the Gap strategy.
  2. National action to end deaths in custody including independent investigations into allegations into police misconduct or abuse and independent inspections of all custodial facilities to ensure conditions are safe and humane.
  3. A coordinated, national Justice Reinvestment approach to divert resources over time from prisons into community programs. This would prevent crime, reduce imprisonment rates and create safer communities through better targeted public spending

We received a crushing blow with news that the Abbott Government have decided to defund the lead agency in this campaign, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS).

This is not a cut, this is a complete defunding, meaning that NATSILS will cease to exist if the defunding goes ahead.

NATSILS and law reform and policy officers in state and territory based Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS) work with governments to address the underlying causes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration, through evidenced based policy development, education and diversionary and prevention programs.

The defunding directly targets ATSILS work with governments to address the drivers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration.

The cuts will mean that even more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will not be able to access essential legal services and will result in more people ending up in prison.

Incarceration rates continue to rise without making communities any safer. In order to turn this situation around we need to develop sound, evidence-based policies. It makes no sense to defund the organisations best able to do this.

You can help!  Add your voice to urge the Prime Minister to take this matter in hand and reverse the decision to defund NATSILS and the policy officer positions in state and territory based ATSILS.

ACTION -URGE THE PM to REVERSE THE DECISION HERE

Enter your details and a short message which we will send on your behalf to the following politicians:

  • The Hon Tony Abbott MP, Prime Minister
  • The Hon Joe Hockey MP, Treasurer
  • Senator the Hon George Brandis QC, Attorney-General
  • Senator the Hon Nigel Scullion, Minister for Indigenous Affairs

Help us send a strong message now. Tell our nation’s leaders  “You can’t get smart on crime if you cut out the knowledge base.”

Send your letter now. 

How you can help

Help our campaign by staying in touch, donating to ANTaR and telling your friends about ANTaR and the need to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the criminal justice system.

One comment on “NACCHO justice ANTaR campaign support: Abbott Government delivers a blow to Aboriginal Justice

  1. Why do you deliberately undermine Aboriginal Legal Aid? Why do you revert to White-Australia-style policies at this crucial time towards reconcilliation and real repair? Why do you enjoy trampling on the poor so much? Why can’t you for once be honest, humane, progressive, logical and fair? Why do human rights mean nothing to you? Why do you believe the world won’t notice your immoral, un-christian criminilisation strategies, uncannily similar to South Africa’s Apartheid of the olden days? How can you live with yourself?

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