Back to All News

PM fails as National Cabinet dodges deaths in custody

Media Release
Adam Bandt 12 Jun 2020

Scott Morrison’s refusal to make First Nations deaths in custody a standing agenda item at National Cabinet shows his words to be hollow, the Greens have said, pushing for it to become a standing agenda item for state and federal leaders with strict timeframes to reform the country’s criminal laws. 
 
“The Prime Minister can give a million passionate speeches in parliament about deaths in custody, but while he refuses to take action they’re nothing more than crocodile tears," Australian Greens Leader, Adam Bandt said today.
 
"First the Prime Minister whitewashed Australian history, then he refused to discuss deaths in custody at National Cabinet and now he is calling for protestors to be prosecuted.
 
“National Cabinet’s failure to discuss deaths in custody is a disgrace. If Scott Morrison wants people to stop attending protests, he should use his National Cabinet to stop First Nations’ people dying in custody.” 
 
“Yesterday in Question Time, I asked the Prime Minister to back up his sympathy for First Nations peoples deaths in custody by putting it on the Cabinet agenda. He apparently refused. What good is saying it’s a national priority when you’re doing nothing to stop it?”
 
"First Nations peoples in Australia are the most incarcerated group per capita anywhere else in the world. At the least, that warrants a standing agenda item for the national cabinet with strict timetables for action.
 
"At least 437 people have died in custody since the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody. More Aboriginal men have died in custody since 1991 than have played in the AFL.

Greens spokesperson on First Nations issues Senator Rachel Siewert said:
 
"Governments must be proactive and take action on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. They need to show leadership and set deadlines for actions to stop deaths in custody and address First Nations peoples appalling incarceration rates," Senator Siewert said.
 
"The Prime Minster’s comments yesterday about slavery in Australia were atrocious and divisive and he must apologise properly.
 
"His denial of the truth of our history is offensive. 
 
"This has to be a wakeup call and a time of public consciousness. The over-incarceration of First Nations peoples is a key human rights concern for our country and it's time the Government takes proper steps to address it.
 
"Governments have not addressed this issue and they can’t hide behind a pandemic."

 
Back to All News