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Greens call for Royal Commission to reach beyond Northern Territory

The Australian Greens have welcomed the dismissal of the Northern Territory's Corrections Minister and the decision to establish a Royal Commission in response to the Four Corners report into abuse in youth detention facilities.

"This Royal Commission needs wide terms of reference to determine the full extent of abuse both in the Northern Territory and elsewhere," said Greens Leader Senator Richard Di Natale.

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Federal Government must lead new approach to tackle Aboriginal incarceration

The Australian Greens say the release of an Amnesty International report into Indigenous incarceration should restart a national conversation about Justice Reinvestment as an alternative to "lock 'em up" prison culture.

Australian Greens spokesperson for legal affairs Senator Penny Wright, who chaired a 2013 inquiry into Justice Reinvestment, said some of the momentum for Federal action had been lost after the election of the Abbott Government.

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Indigenous legal cuts a national embarrassment

The Australian Greens have condemned the funding cuts to indigenous legal aid services, which will see the peak body NATSILS close its doors in June.

Spokesperson for legal affairs Senator Penny Wright said the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service advocacy was crucial to addressing shocking levels of indigenous incarceration.

"More than one in four prisoners are Aboriginal, despite making up only a fraction of our population. Too many are in jail because of inadequate legal understanding and representation," Senator Wright said.

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WA’s Aboriginal youth detention rate requires urgent action

The Australian Greens said today that the alarmingly high rate of Aboriginal youth detention is a disgrace, and called on the WA Government to urgently invest in in Justice Reinvestment.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare's ‘Youth detention population in Australia 2013' report has found that in the June quarter of 2013, the ratio of Aboriginal to non-Aboriginal youth aged 10-17 in detention in WA was 60 to 1, compared to the national ratio of around 31 to 1.

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Indigenous legal aid cuts must not go ahead

Prime Minister Tony Abbott must urgently clarify if he intends to reverse his party's election promise to make multi-million dollar cuts to indigenous legal aid, say the Australian Greens.

The Attorney General's Department last night confirmed frontline services could not be isolated from the $42 million cut to indigenous legal aid funding under questioning from Senator Rachel Siewert and Senator Penny Wright.

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Abbott cuts to Indigenous legal services hypocritical

The Australian Greens have condemned Tony Abbott's cuts to the Indigenous Legal Assistance and Policy Reform Program, saying it goes against all his past rhetoric and will exacerbate the shameful incarceration rates for Indigenous Australians.

"Tony Abbott says he wants to prioritise efforts to end Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage, but cutting Indigenous legal aid funding undermines this commitment," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues.

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Drug and alcohol treatments to reduce crime, boost health

The Australian Greens have backed calls to divert non-violent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander offenders with substance use problems into rehabilitation or treatment programs in place of prison terms.

 "We need Federal leadership for a new approach across the country to fix what is clearly a very broken system," said Australian Greens spokesperson on legal affairs, Senator Penny Wright.

"We must address the underlying causes of disadvantage, which mean many Aboriginal people do not have the same opportunities and support as other Australians.

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Time for a new approach to juvenile justice

Increasing over-representation of Indigenous youth in juvenile detention shows the drastic need for a new approach to justice in Australia, say Australian Greens Senators Penny Wright and Rachel Siewert.

New figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show Indigenous young people account for 53 per cent of all youth in detention and were 31 times as likely as non-Indigenous young people to be in detention, up from 27 times as likely in 2008.

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Statement acknowledging 20 years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody

I start by acknowledging that this statement is being made on the land (boodja) of the Wadjuk Nyoongar people. I pay my respects to the traditional owners of this land and the elders past and present. It always was and always will be Aboriginal land.

I’d also like to acknowledge the excellent work done by the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee.

I am deeply sorry that I was unable to be with you today to discuss with you the pressing need to act on Aboriginal deaths in custody.

To act on fully and comprehensively implementing the findings of the Royal Commission.

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Greens send clear message on deaths in custody – enough is enough

The Australian Greens have called for effective justice reinvestment to become a key initiative in reducing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia’s prisons.

In acknowledging the passing of 20 years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues has today called for a concerted effort to lower the disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people, particularly youth, in custody.

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