Last Friday was an important day in the history of fixing the youth justice system in Australia, and the acknowledgment that serious abuses have taken place. After months of delays, the findings of the NT Royal Commission (NTRC) into Youth Detention were finally released.
We know that these abuses are not just an issue in the Northern Territory. This kind of abuse is going on in every youth detention centre in Australia, and we need the Federal government to step up and show leadership to combat it.
Activists around the country gathered on the day of Royal Commission report release to show that this issue affects every state and territory. In Adelaide they held a stunt outside MP Christopher Pyne’s office, paving the path to the office with large puzzle pieces, representing solutions needed to fix the youth justice system. In Perth, petitions for solutions were handed over at MP Julie Bishop’s office, and in Melbourne activists held vigil outside the Melbourne Youth Justice Centre.
This week we’ll also be holding a community forum on the Gold Coast aimed at MP Steven Ciobo who has already met with local activists to discuss a national plan of action on youth justice. We’ll also be holding a stunt outside Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s office in Sydney.
Next week in Canberra we’ll be holding an event outside of Parliament with our partners in the Change the Record coalition to launch our own recommendations for a national plan of action. We’ll be using this trip to lobby leaders and gain a commitment to this plan. We expect that these changes will come through the Council of Australian Governments and the planned Close the Gap refresh in 2018.
We’re nearing the end of our activism blitz now and we should be proud of what we have accomplished. We’ve helped to keep the issue in the national spotlight, encouraged thousands of Australians to take action and built strong relationships with politicians and Indigenous allies. Between now and the end of November, make sure to keep that pressure up on the Federal Government by phoning or emailing your own Federal MP as well as the Prime Minister. Until we get that commitment for a national plan of action we have to keep fighting for it. We’ll have more updates once the blitz is completely over in a week’s time, but make sure you are getting your updates and sharing what you are working on in our Facebook group for the campaign.