Mr GUYULA to CHIEF MINISTER
To help reduce the destruction rates of Indigenous imprisonment, would you support legislating (inaudible) [Anunga] rules?
Madam Speaker, during our last term we spoke about we can involve traditional owners in the sentencing process in how they provide advice to the judge. It happens to a degree in some remote communities now, but we wanted to work with the Chief Justice on how we can bring that forward so there is an involvement at the point of sentencing.
It is part of a theme where we want to make sure victims have a voice, people are involved in the system and there is an impact at the point of sentencing that goes towards an understanding of what you have done and a change of behaviour, which is crucial.
We are working on our Aboriginal justice agreement, something we committed to going into the last election. It is one of the things I have raised in refreshing the closing the gap agenda and having justice targets. We will certainly have them as a jurisdiction, but we need to add to the targets of the closing the gap strategy. For me it is very important, as it is for our government, that we have a focus on rehabilitation and diversion and an Aboriginal justice agreement that looks at how we can reinvest.
We must have community-led justice. We must put victims first. We must involve the community in the program. It is part of our broader policy on local decision-making—housing, education, health and others—that sentencing locally is really important.
It is maybe not quite what you are after, Member, in terms of the law, but we are looking at the involvement of elders in the system. I am happy to involve you, as we would the general community, in the conversation on Aboriginal justice agreements and how they work in practice. We want it to be effective and community-led.
That is something we are working on. It is also part of a broader conversation about closing the gap and the targets we need to set—a mission for us, the Australian Government and other jurisdictions on the things we need to aim for and therefore work on.
We have a lot of work to do, which has been said every year around closing the gap time. If I was a remote Territorian I would be very frustrated. I think we have all heard that when we have visited remote communities. There is a great deal of frustration. We must do more urgently, but we must also be better in how we do it and recognise that it is better done locally; it is better done in a local community than in Darwin or Canberra. That is at the heart of many of our policies; it is at the heart of our housing, education and health policies. It must be something we consider as part of our Aboriginal justice agreement and how we approach sentencing so we can make a real difference to people’s lives, the victims as much as with the offender to stop reoffending.
See connecting Questions on 15 & 16/02/17.