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Attorney General says Indigenous incarceration rates should be addressed with more welfare

Welfare should be increased to address ‘lamentable’ indigenous incarceration rates – but the problem cannot be compared to US police brutality, Attorney General says

  • Christian Porter suggested increasing welfare to reduce Indigenous jail rates 
  • He believes incarceration rates are driven by complicated economic factors 
  • George Floyd protests renewed focus on mistreatment of Aboriginal people
  • More than 400 indigenous people have died whilst in custody since 1991 

Attorney-General Christian Porter has suggested increasing welfare payments to reduce Australia’s ‘lamentable’ indigenous jail rates.

Global protests about the police killing of African American man George Floyd have renewed focus on the systemic mistreatment of Aboriginal people.

More than 400 indigenous people have died in custody since 1991.

Although Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults make up just two per cent of the national population, they constitute 27 per cent of the national prison population.

The problem is even worse with young First Nations people.

Protesters at the Black Lives Matter protest on Tuesday evening in Sydney. The George Floyd protests in America have renewed focus on mistreatment of Aboriginal people in Australia

Attorney-General Christian Porter has suggested increasing welfare payments to reduce Australia's 'lamentable' indigenous jail rates

Attorney-General Christian Porter has suggested increasing welfare payments to reduce Australia’s ‘lamentable’ indigenous jail rates

Mr Porter says both sides of politics are committed to reducing indigenous incarceration rates.

‘They are lamentable. They are a sharp policy focus. It is a very difficult problem to solve,’ he said in Sydney on Wednesday.

‘It is a problem that has to be acknowledged, and is acknowledged, at all levels of government.’

He said indigenous incarceration rates were driven by complicated economic factors.

‘The greatest thing in my observation that we can do to, over time, decrease rates of indigenous incarceration is increase rates of indigenous welfare and employment,’ Mr Porter said.

‘The mistake has always been made by looking at rates of incarceration, which I absolutely agree are lamentable, but to view that as a criminal justice problem.

‘It is a much broader problem that has to require significant increases in the welfare and employment of Aboriginal Australians.’

He cautioned against drawing too many parallels between the United States and Australia.

‘We shouldn’t mistake specific problems of grotesque police brutality in America – literally a world away – with our own problems,’ Mr Porter said.

‘Which is not to detract from the necessity to recognise our own problems and solve our own problems, but we shouldn’t mistake one problem for another.’

Mr Porter said we should not draw too many parallels between the United States and Australia. Pictured: protesters at the Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney on Tuesday

Mr Porter said we should not draw too many parallels between the United States and Australia. Pictured: protesters at the Black Lives Matter protest in Sydney on Tuesday

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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