After months of tireless emailing and calling, in October Amnesty’s Eastern suburbs action group met with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to discuss Indigenous kids being sent to prison.
The Eastern Suburbs group alongside youth worker, Just Reinvest ambassador and all-round Amnesty friend, Keenan Mundine, met with the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull on 7 October. The group were able to request a meeting with Malcolm Turnbull as they are local constituents in his electorate. Together the Amnesty group handed over our 16,000+ petition calling on the Australian Government to set targets to reduce the numbers of Indigenous people in prison.
How did the conversation go?
This was a powerful moment in our Community is Everything campaign, which aims to end the over-representation of Indigenous kids in prisons.
Not only did Mr Turnbull support and endorse our call upon the states and territories to take action, he supported Indigenous-led solutions, pointing out that we need to work with Aboriginal people, not for them.
The Eastern Suburbs group reiterated that it’s not just the responsibility of the states but that in fact national leadership is required from the Prime Minister to address this issue.
With this meeting we are one step closer to seeing the Australian Government work with the states, territories and Indigenous organisations to close the gap.
In one meeting, the Eastern Suburbs Action Group gave you, the thousands of Amnesty supporters, the opportunity to hold a key decision-maker to account.
Lessons for other action groups
If you want that meeting, being (politely!) determined will help you get it.
The Eastern suburbs group had to be really persistent to secure a meeting with their local member Malcolm, and at times they felt discouraged; however, after campaigning in their local community since 1978, these activists are no strangers to hard work!
Groups working in partnership with Indigenous people is vital.
Having Koori man Keenan Mundine at the meeting to share his own experiences while growing up really helped make their meeting powerful.
What’s next over the next few months?
- Amnesty’s action groups right across Australia will continue to work in partnership with Aboriginal people in putting pressure on our government to support Indigenous-led community programs, instead of sending kids into prison.
- Amnesty International will be giving evidence and writing a submission to the NT Royal Commission. We will closely monitor the findings and ensure that these are implemented not just in the Northern Territory but around the country.