The decision by Labor and the Greens to reject an independent investigation into the prevalence of racism at the Alexander Maconochie Centre has failed our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, Shadow Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Elizabeth Kikkert said.
‘It is well known that the ACT has the worst incarceration rate in the nation for Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders,” Mrs Kikkert said.
“Indigenous Canberrans worry not just about how many of their community members are locked up but about what happens to them once they are inside.
“It has been made clear to me that too many people have lost trust in the territory’s prison as a safe, respectful place for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander detainees.
“The recent allegation that an Aboriginal woman on remand was strip-searched in full view of male prisoners has not helped this impression.
“We already know that females are being housed in a part of the prison that was never intended for them, forcing them to walk within view of male detainees just to access health or recreation services or meet with visitors. This is not right.
“My motion last week called for an independent inquiry to investigate and document any incidence of systemic racism in the AMC – not the acts of individuals but rather any policies, programs or procedures that result in unfair outcomes.
“I am ashamed that the Greens and Labor rejected this opportunity to restore trust in the system and support Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in our community,” Mrs Kikkert concluded.