NACCHO Aboriginal Health News: Stop mass incarceration to prevent deaths in custody

Stop mass incarceration to prevent deaths in custody

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar AO said Australia must stop the “mass incarceration” of its Indigenous people or else deaths in custody will continue to occur.

Commissioner Oscar said her thoughts are with all the families who have lost loved ones over recent months, and in the 30 years since the Report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was handed down. She said systemic reform is long overdue, and Australian governments must enact every recommendation of the royal commission.

“The fact that imprisonment rates have increased markedly since the royal commission shows Australia has failed to build a just relationship with First Nations peoples. It is a deep national shame,” Commissioner Oscar said.

Read the media release from the Australian Human Rights Commission here.

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s article on Closing the Gap

The Pharmacy Guild of Australia would like to acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health leaders for the way they have managed one of the most difficult and challenging years of our time.

The leaders have demonstrated the leadership, resilience and community that have guided Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples throughout significant adversity during 2020, that is sure to leave an enduring legacy for future generations, and one that is recorded in the 2021 Close the Gap Report.

The 2021 Close the Gap Report – Leadership and Legacy Through Crises: Keeping our Mob safe (released on Thursday, 18 March), showcases how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, communities and peoples responded to critical health crises in 2020 – devastating bushfires and climate change, the coronavirus pandemic and the mental health emergency facing First Australians.

This year’s report was produced by the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s community controlled national institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research, on behalf of the Close the Gap Steering Committee.

Read the full story here.

Latest ANTaR Blog from Paul Wright: Nationhood, Recognition and the deadly incarceration pandemic

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Australia in 2021 is a Dickensian periodical morphing into a ‘choose your own adventure’ where the state of things is entirely open to your worldview.

While it is understandable to be consumed by the drama of slow vaccination rollouts, rapid COVID outbreaks, sexual abuse scandals, and the return of the perennial Australian favourite soap opera that is our football seasons (pick your code here(link is external) or here(link is external)), it is sadly all too easy to have missed that in the same period a spate of First Nations deaths in custody have been reported, in the macabre irony that we are nearing the 30th Anniversary of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (link is external)(RCIADIC).

The Royal Commission report produced 339 Recommendations that have largely been ignored or only partially implemented, despite Government attempts to suggest otherwise(link is external).

As former RCIADIC Commissioner, Senator Pat Dodson said to mark the 25th Anniversary in 2016(link is external):

“For the vast bulk of our people the legal system is not a trusted instrument of justice. It is a feared and despised processing plant that propels the most vulnerable and disabled of our people towards a broken and bleak future.”

Paul is ANTaR’s National Director and has experience working in both Government and non-government sectors – covering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, health, immigration and social services. Paul studied politics and international relations at the University of Canberra and has a Masters of Strategic Studies from the Australian National University. Prior to his role with ANTaR, Paul was the Executive Officer for the Close the Gap Campaign Secretariat and the National Health Leadership Forum at the Australian Human Rights Commission.

To read the full blog click here.

Flinders University: Country nursing scholarships

Two local mature aged students have been awarded scholarships to complete their nursing degree with Flinders University in honour of Loxton-born nurse Kirsty Boden.

Third-year Flinders University students Tammy Stephenson and Hollie Bullock are the 2021 recipients of the Kirsty Boden Nursing Memorial Scholarship which grants them $10,000 towards their studies at the University’s Renmark campus.

The annual scholarship is supported by a grant from the Government of South Australia and is named in honour of Kirsty Boden, a young nurse who tragically died in the London Bridge Terror attacks in 2017.

Ms Stephenson, of Monash, and Ms Bullock from Loxton, say they are only able to pursue their nursing studies because the course is offered close to home.

“If nursing wasn’t offered through Flinders rural campus in Renmark, I would not have been able to undertake my nursing degree,” Hollie says.

“Being only 45 minutes from home means I can attend contact hours at uni easily. Studying at Renmark has so many benefits. You feel like a big family having smaller class sizes and the same lecturers for numerous topics, so you build very close relationships.”

To read the Flinders University media release click here.

Ms Hollie Bullock from Loxton – Nursing Degree Scholarship candidate.

2021 WA Youth Awards highlight the best, brightest and the most dedicated

Youth Minister Dave Kelly said Derek Nannup, 23, of Nollamara has been formally recognised as Western Australia’s Young Person of the Year at the 2021 WA Youth Awards.

Derek is a proud Whadjuk Noongar man who has dedicated his life to strengthening cultural connections for young Aboriginal people. He has worked at Wesley College as the Indigenous Cultural Program Coordinator, with Wungening Aboriginal Corporation as a support worker for children in care and is currently employed at the Aboriginal Health Council of WA working in sexual health education.

Read the media release here.

Holistic and healthy childbirth for Indigenous women

Australia is generally a good place to have a baby, but Indigenous babies are more likely to be born prematurely, and their mums are less likely to attend medical appointments during pregnancy or be breastfeeding by the time they leave hospital. Aboriginal communities say part of the solution is ‘culturally safe maternity care’ that goes beyond just managing a woman’s physical needs.

Listen to the ABC Health Report podcast with guest Kristie Watego, Birthing In Our Community program and Adrian Carson, CEO of the Institute for Urban Indigenous Health Ltd, with hosts Tegan Taylor and Dr Norman Swan.