anarchist blackcross melbourne autumn bulletin part 2

( a picture of ray standing in front of an aboriginal flag )1430273305492

Dad’s Tribute by Carolyne Jackson 
Never will you meet a greater man, a man who more faithfully lived his values. My father was a teacher of all things. Dads method was simple. Dad taught by example. At any age, when faced with an ethical dilema, after reflection, study, or even rationalisation I found myself coming back to one question. What would Dad do? His character is the foundation of my conscience. Dad to this day, has always been my moral compass, he always wanted me to be a self sufficient and independent woman. Dad was adamant that we learn the values behind respecting others as he wished to be respected and to know the difference between right and wrong so this is one of my earliest remembered teachings.. Dad wanted to make sure our values and morals were aligned with his teachings. Those values and morals will always be with me as you Dad will always be with me I love and miss you dearly my best friend.


( picture of a banner that states how many people 0f color have to be killed by cops before

you hate the state )

25th Anniversary Since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths In Custody

Anarchist Black Cross Melbourne is in solidarity with our by indigenous brothers and sisters who have died in custody. Indeed, we acknowledge all deaths in custody. 15 April was declared a National day of Emergency because the 339 recommendations of the Royal Commission have not been upheld. Ms Dhu’s death in 2014 is a living testimony of this, as are many more. Rallies and actions happened all over the country. 

Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody: Grieving families lament lack of reform
By Lauren Day

Maxine Bennell
As a little girl, Maxine Bennell watched her father Eddie – boxer, playwright and the chair of the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee – fight for Aboriginal rights and against deaths in custody.
By the time of his death in 1991, just months before Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody handed down its final report, Ms Bennell said her father thought his job was done. 4

“I believe that my dad would have thought that this would have been all finished, looked after properly,” she said.
He was wrong.
Two decades later, his grandson, Maxine’s son Jayden, died behind bars.
“I think my father would have felt very angry and I think my dad really would have never imagined it would have impacted his grandchildren, never,” she said.

Ms Bennell admits her son was “a bit naughty”; he had been in trouble with the law from a young age and was in jail for stealing cars.

But she thought he had come out of prison a better young man. Instead, he died inside.
“I’ve not been able to move forward in three years, I’ve not been able to,” she said. 
“My little sister says ‘you’re angry all the time’. Of course I’m angry – my son shouldn’t be dead.”
Jayden was in custody on a mandatory sentence under Western Australia’s three strikes policy for burglary offences.
One of the key principles of the royal commission’s report was that imprisonment be used as a sanction of last resort.
A report commissioned by Amnesty International found that mandatory sentencing erodes that principle.

The royal commission’s report also recommended prisons be screened to eliminate or reduce the potential for harm..
There were at least half a dozen hanging points in the room where Jayden was found.
Statistics show worsening problem
Jayden’s death is one of around 340 Indigenous deaths in custody since what was supposed to be that game-changing report – almost one death to each of its 339 recommendations.
The statistics paint a damning picture of a situation much worse than when it was identified as a crisis 25 years ago.
At the time of the commission’s final report in 1991, Aboriginal people were 8 times more likely to be imprisoned than non-Aboriginal people.


They are now 15 times more likey
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men are twice as likely to be in prison than university.
‘Stain on our so-called progressive nation’
As Australia marks the 25th anniversary of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, The Law Report hears the situation is worse than ever, in what advocates call an “international embarrassment”.
And despite representing only 3 per cent of the population, Indigenous Australians now make up 27 per cent of the prison population – almost double their representation in 1991.

Aboriginal lawyer and deputy chair of the Deaths in Custody Watch Committee, Hannah McGlade, said it was sad to see the situation worsening.
“Incarceration has only increased but what we’ve seen in the particular incarceration increasing of Aboriginal women,” she said.
“Aboriginal women are now recognised as the fastest growing prison population of Australia.
“In our state of Western Australia, Aboriginal women are making up at least 50 per cent of the prison population, and have done so for many years now.”
She said many of the reasons behind this trend were poverty related.
“We’ve seen an increase from 3 per cent to 16 per cent for Aboriginal women being incarcerated for fine default,” she said.
“Anyone knows if you have good employment, access to monies, paying fines is not a problem. If you’re very poor and living on the poverty line, fines and payments becomes a very big issue and you can end up in jail in Western Australia for it.”

Miss Dhu’s family ‘will not stop fighting’

The issue of imprisonment for fine defaulting was highlighted in the recent case of Miss Dhu, who was locked up at WA’s South Hedland Police Station for unpaid fines.
She died two days later from a fatal infection stemming from a cracked rib.

Miss Dhu died in police custody in Port Hedland in WA in August 2014

Her uncle Shaun Harris said it never would have happened if the royal commission’s recommendations had been implemented.
“No-one deserves to die over $1,000 worth of fines, unpaid fines, let alone any amount of unpaid fines,” he said.

“It’s a blatant breach of human rights. The whole system needs to be held accountable.”

Another of the royal commission’s recommendations – an ongoing amnesty for long outstandi unpaid fines – arguably could have saved her life.

The inquest into Miss Dhu’s death has just wrapped up and Mr Harris said her family was now anxiously, but warily waiting for answers.
“We don’t want recommendations to come out of the inquest that will not be acted upon, just as the recommendations from the royal commission, there’s 339 – roughly about only 20 per cent have been implemented Australia-wide,” Mr Harris said.

He said the fight for justice would continue.

“It’s angering, very angering, we’ve had to hold our anger back and direct it to the cause which is what we’ve done to our best, we will not stop fighting,” Mr Harris said.

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