The Guardian • Issue #2088

TJ Hickey speak-out, Melbourne 17 February

  • by FK
  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2088

Photo: Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA) Melbourne

A determined and organised crowd attended the Speak Out for TJ Hickey at Melbourne’s State Library on Saturday 17 February. Organised by the Indigenous Social Justice Association Melbourne, the event commemorated the tragic death of TJ during a police pursuit in 2004 in Sydney’s Redfern area. The speak out also commemorated other Indigenous deaths in custody. Participants held up placards with photographs of Aboriginal people who have died in custody and read aloud the account of each avoidable death.

Speakers called for full implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC). That report came out in 1991 and disgracefully most of its recommendations have not been implemented. This includes simple and very doable things like not having hanging points in jail cells, as well as the following:

Imprisonment should only occur as a  last resort;

Medical assistance must be called where necessary

Better collaboration with Aboriginal communities.

There have been wins. In Victoria public drunkenness is no longer a criminal offence.  However, as a speaker from the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service pointed out, governments around the country remain addicted to a ‘tough on crime’, tabloid-pleasing approach to bail and imprisonment, as shown by the Victorian government’s recent backflip on bail laws.

Speakers included Robbie Thorpe, and the president of the Black People’s Union.

See ‘Justice for TJ,’ Guardian #2083, 22 January 2024, for an interview with the ISJA

The Guardian can also be viewed/downloaded in PDF format. View More