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Members Statement: First Nations Justice

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
20 September 2022

First Nations justice is achieved through fixing our harmful systems and through honouring true-self determination by grassroots First Nations communities over their collective future.

This Members Statement was made on 20 September 2022: 

As we end this term of parliament, while acknowledging the work that we have done together, we must acknowledge our unfinished work. 

Last week, another First Nations person died in custody in Victoria. That is the second Aboriginal person within just the last few weeks, adding to the 500 people that have died since the Royal Commission into deaths in custody. 

Our bail laws and criminal justice system are killing First Nations people in Victoria.

It has to stop. 

When the systems we use disproportionately harm and kill some people in our communities, we must dismantle the systemic prejudice and racism that is the cause. 

Yet instead of using this term of parliament to fix our bail laws and stop the over incarceration of First Nations people, this government is opening up more prisons.

And instead of raising this age of criminal responsibility to stop 10 year old children - disproportionately first nations children - from being harassed by the police and taken into custody, this government hid the bill that could have implemented that change. 

Instead of fixing the broken youth justice system that abuses the human rights of our young people - the Government prioritised 6 law and order bills in this year alone to make them look tough on crime. 

The work of Treaty is groundbreaking in Victoria. But it is not just in the future. It is now and cannot be used as cover for inaction that stops first nations people from being locked up and killed by our so called justice system. 

Decolonisation does not look like this. 

And it certainly doesn’t look like removing a First Nations Woiwurrung name for a hospital - to rename it in honour of a foreign monarch - erasing the few references we have to First Nations language in this state. 

This is recolonisation - not Treaty.

You can watch the full speech on YouTube here. 

profile image
Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
20 September 2022


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