i, and i know many others also will, strongly support michael in his call and demand to “make 2012 the year of the last stand for justice” and to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the tent embassy that was set up by michael and his compatriots on invasion day 1972.
from the 26th to 28th of january 2012 the discussions will continue on the best way to strengthen our demands that we must obtain our rightful sovereignty of the traditional owners, brought about by treaties with each aboriginal nation. included, of course, will be the demand that social justice issues, such as deaths in custody, among many others, must be honestly and openly addressed by the relevant authorities.
whilst there are many social justice issues that need to be addressed, the nt intervention/invasion, the ongoing health and education problems, the over-policing and consequent over-gaoling of our brothers and sisters but especially that of our youth who are the tragic victims of a racist custodial system, we must not lose sight of the most important issue – that of our sovereignty.
the latest abs figures show that as at the end of the june quarter 2011 the continuing racist horror of the government’s custodial systems of this country. nationally, that there are 28 964 inmates in full time custody whilst there were 54 609 in the community-based custody system. the number of aboriginal and torres strait islanders in gaol at the june 2011 quarter were 6 997 males and 624 females. we make up 26% of the total national gaol population but we make up only 2% of the australian population.
nsw has 2 270 aboriginal and torres strait islander inmates, wa has 1 775 and qld. has 1 671 making up some 75% of the national figure. the figures for juvenile justice, though not given by the abs, is at least 50% of the jj system.
the current racist custodial system does not work for our people and we need to accept the responsibility for their rehabilitation by assisting them in a cultural manner. their system works on the method of penal punishment, our cultural system is built on respect, love and salvation. we had no gaols but we did have a form of very strict laws that enabled our civilisation to continue for 60 000 years or more. we need to minister to our own in our own way. the first nations of canada/america do this as do the maori; why shouldn’t we?
in nsw, corrective services set up what was described as being an ‘aboriginal’ gaol that would take only aboriginal inmates and be mostly staffed by aboriginal officers and workers. the gaol would use the local brewarrina aboriginal community and its aboriginal services. the gaol even employed an elder to mentor the inmates. with no great surprise the work structures were eroded over time. the local aboriginal medical service was banned as were nominated individuals. the aboriginal officers were eventually replaced by mainstream officers and ‘yetta dhinikal’ became just another gaol.
after 224 years of invasion policies we are worse off than ever!
the clarion call for sovereignty, treaties and social justice must be answered to our collective satisfaction.
indigenous social justice association
(m) 0450 651 063
(p) 02 9318 0947
address 1303/200 pitt street waterloo 2017
we live and work on the stolen lands of the gadigal people.
sovereignty treaty social justice