Activists across the country are campaigning hard to end the over-representation of Indigenous kids in our justice system and the impact is clear.
Thanks to the dedicated and hard work of activists like you, this month we took some great steps closer to addressing the over-representation of Indigenous kids in the justice system. Activists have made their voices heard and politicians are starting to listen.
In Queensland, activists have been emailing, calling and meeting with MPs in support of changes to the Youth Justice Act. Thanks to their hard work, the two Bills passed!
The Townsville group did a fantastic job of keeping a community forum on safety focused on solutions and the best interests of children. The impact of all of this hard work is plain to see; Amnesty was mentioned twice in the debates as the Bills passed.
These Bills will mean that we can better protect children. Among other things, the changes will:
- End the automatic transfer of 17-year-old kids on youth charges to adult prisons;
- Get rid of military-style boot camps;
- Reintroduce youth justice conferencing where the offender, victim and the community can listen, understand each other and heal; and
- Protect children’s privacy by closing their court hearings.
This is a big win for the campaign and for activists who have worked so hard on the ground.
In the Northern Territory, activists have been lobbying cross-benchers to stop changes to the Bail Act. And they did it!
The proposed changes meant that children would be held in prison while awaiting trial if they had previously been charged with offences like property crime and petty theft.
It has been amazing to see how many activists stepped up to campaign against the changes. The Northern Territory has not typically been a place where we have had lots of action groups, but clearly we have lots of engaged activists passionate about making the justice system fairer for all kids.
These activists have had a large hand in making sure this Bill did not get passed.
There are challenges ahead in the lead up to the Northern Territory election in August. With law and order shaping up as an election issue, we could see a similar Bill introduced if the current government is re-elected. So we will be counting on all of our NT supporters to make their voices heard again in the coming months.
Across the country
At a national level, emails, letters and actions from our supporters over recent months have called on the government and opposition to introduce national justice targets.
Politicians fed back to Amnesty’s Government Relations team that your voices are being heard. The Australian Labor Party, who have a policy to enact justice targets, have indicated that they really welcome the depth of support this issue has in the community. This shows the value of making sure politicians are aware of when we support an action they are taking — not only do we need to change minds, but we also need to let our politicians know when they’re on the right track. We’ll need your support to keep up the pressure on Australia’s new government after the election.
There are a lot of exciting things going on in this movement. If you want to be a part of it, join our monthly Community is Everything catch ups and find out what you can do to make a difference.