Page 3737 - Week 11 - Wednesday, 23 November 2022

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Eighth: we need to eliminate unnecessary imprisonment. Many people are locked up because they could not pay fines or are convicted of fairly minor offences. In many instances, sending a person to prison is unnecessary and can contribute to further involvement in the criminal justice system.

Ninth: we need to adopt community justice approaches. Serious crime, particularly violent offending, damages individuals and communities and impacts women and children disproportionately. Evidence tells us that therapeutic and restorative practices are ways in which the criminal justice system can help to rebuild relationships and deliver positive outcomes for the entire community.

Tenth: young people do not belong in prison. Tough on crime approaches to youth offending and misbehaviour fail to recognise that young people are still developing and that far more appropriate opportunities for support and positive reinforcement exist than putting children behind bars.

Eleventh: we need to have rehabilitation, not just punishment. A prison sentence should not be a sentence for life. Just about every prisoner will be released back into the community at some stage; therefore, it is in their interests to ensure that they do so in the best possible way to ensure rehabilitation.

This leads to number 12, which is about reintegration, not recidivism. Unfortunately, far too many people fall back into crime soon after being released from prison. We need to look at the supports we provide to people while in prison and their transition back into the community to ensure that they are ready to do so.

I now wish to talk to particular pertinent points from Dr Paterson’s motion which Mrs Kikkert has actually struck out, which pretty much is everything after point (a). I note, for example, that point (e) is the most factual statement that you could imagine about what the Uluru statement is; yet, apparently, Mrs Kikkert does not see a part in her amendments for that paragraph.

Also, when I come to the “calls on” part, I notice what has been struck out from Mrs Kikkert’s amendment—for example, 2(a) “acknowledge the notions of Voice, Treaty, Truth as outlined in the Uluru Statement from the Heart”. I ask: why has this been struck out? Why can this Assembly not acknowledge the notions of voice, treaty and truth as outlined in the Uluru statement? What is so offensive about this particular point that requires it to be struck from this particular motion?

In 2(b) the first section is “endorse the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full”. This part has been struck out as well. Again, I ask: why is it necessary to strike out this part? Is it because Mrs Kikkert does not endorse the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full? She has explained the Canberra Liberals’ position, which is basically a hedge in terms of the referendum. But that does not explain why she cannot say that she supports the voice, treaty and truth as outlined from the Uluru statement.

Then I look at (3) in the calls, asking the ACT government to explore the potential to work with and support local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups and initiatives around the Uluru Statement from the Heart. I have not heard anything today

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