Overturning five decades of injustice, the Queensland Parliament passed a Bill that will mean 17-year-olds are no longer held in adult prisons or tried as adults in the justice system.
Queensland was the only state or territory in Australia to have this law, in conflict with children’s rights. Indigenous Rights Campaigner Roxanne Moore, reflects on this momentous occasion.
Amnesty was on the ground
We been campaigning for the removal of 17-year-olds from the adult justice system for many years.
Amnesty has put many submissions into parliamentary and government processes, written numerous letters to decision makers, held lobbying meetings and included recommendations for this change in two of our ‘Community is Everything’ research reports.
Many Queensland Amnesty activists have been meeting with their politicians and making calls to their offices. At least 22,00 Queenslanders emailed their politicians to call for this change.
We thank everyone who took action – you helped bring about this historic change that will create a brighter future for Queensland kids
In the week after the release of Amnesty’s report ‘Heads Held High: Keeping Queensland kids out of detention’ the Queensland Government announced its intention to introduce a Bill to end the treatment of 17-year-olds as adults in the justice system.
In the week of the vote, our activists were calling on their leaders to pledge their support for the Bill, and the Bill passed 43 to 41 votes.
We thank everyone who took action – you helped bring about this historic change that will create a brighter future for Queensland kids.
While this is a great step for children’s rights in Queensland, there is much more work to be done to make the justice system fair for all children.
When kids veer off-track, they should be with their communities, being supported to live to their fullest potential
The horrific conditions in Queensland youth detention that Amnesty International recently exposed show that detention is harmful for children. When kids veer off-track, they should be with their communities, being supported to live to their fullest potential.
Where human rights abuses happen in detention, we need to know about it. The perpetrators need to be held accountable through an independent and impartial investigation. That is why it is so important to have an independent inspector of prisons – a protection we’ll have if Australia signs the Optional Protocol on the Convention against Torture (OPCAT).
Call on Prime Minister Turnbull to ratify OPCAT now, so that these human rights abuses never happen to kids in detention again.