Wednesday, 2 November 2016
"I don't know who the dickhead is that thought up this incredible, brilliant idea; it's just a total waste of taxpayers' money" - Warren Mundine
Having read the following media release last Thursday I feel sympathy for Warren Mundine’s obvious sense of frustration at the announcement of yet another ‘make busy’ inquiry into the criminal justice system and indigenous incarceration.
It was only in March last year that the Senate Finance and Public Administration Committees began an Inquiry into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Experiences of Law Enforcement and Justice Services, which received fifty-one submissions and held hearings in Perth, Sydney and Canberra.
The final report was due on 25 August 2016, however as Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pulled the plug on all current parliamentary inquiries on 9 May 2016 by calling a double dissolution federal election, time spent, taxpayers’ money and the efforts of concerned parties have come to naught.
Rather like most of the recommendations of previously completed state and federal inquiries into the Aboriginal experience of Australian society and its institutions.
SENATOR THE HON GEORGE BRANDIS QC
LEADER OF THE GOVERNMENT IN THE SENATE
SENATOR THE HON NIGEL SCULLION
MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS
JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
ALRC inquiry into incarceration rate of Indigenous Australians
Today we announce that the Turnbull Government will ask the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) to examine the factors leading to the over representation of Indigenous Australians in our prison system, and consider what reforms to the law could ameliorate this national tragedy.
It has been 25 years since the final report of the landmark Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, but Indigenous Australians are still overrepresented in Australia’s prisons. In 1991, Indigenous Australians made up 14 per cent of our nation’s prison population; by 2015, this had increased to 27 per cent.
Other worrying statistics include the fact that Indigenous children and teenagers are 24 times more likely to be incarcerated than their non-Indigenous peers, while Indigenous women are 30 times more likely to be incarcerated.
The ALRC’s inquiry is a critical step for breaking through these disturbing trends. The terms of reference will be subject to consultation, particularly with Indigenous Australians, state and territory governments who have primary responsibility for our criminal justice frameworks, as well as the broader legal profession.
The Turnbull Government is committed to reducing Indigenous incarceration and has committed $256 million in 2016-17 through the Indigenous Advancement Strategy for activities to address the drivers and improve community safety.
27 October 2016