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407 deaths of First Nations People in Custody is our National Shame

The Guardian Australia’s Deaths inside database released today is an incredibly important initiative that shines a light on this devastating issue.  

“I am really concerned that this issue is not being addressed with the urgency required, Senator Rachel Siewert said today.

“It has been almost 30 years since the Royal Commission into deaths in custody and things are not improving. First Nations peoples have been desperate for action for years and years now and they have been systemically ignored, passed over and let down.

“While I commend and strongly support the Guardian’s work on this database, it shouldn’t be up to them to track deaths in custody. Our Government should be paying serious attention.

“Why haven’t the recommendations of the Royal Commission been implemented. Why is it almost 30 years later and most recommendations remain unimplemented?

“It simply cannot be that difficult to give people in custody medical attention. How can people in 2018 be dying in prison from a tooth abscess?

“I chaired the Senate Inquiry into Indefinite detention of people with cognitive and psychiatric impairment in Australia, the recommendations of which have not been implemented.

“It’s the same vicious cycle, a Royal Commission or Committee is held, truth is told, credible, tangible solutions are offered and  Governments cop out.

“This has to be a wakeup call. We can’t keep nit-picking and arguing over which state or territory has to fund what. The Commonwealth has to take the lead and make sure that there are no more preventable deaths in in custody.

“I call on Prime Minster Morrison to read this data and take action now.”

 Media contact: Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie 0418 401 180 

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