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STANDING COMMITTEE ON ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER AFFAIRS - 20/05/2010 - Involvement of Indigenous juveniles and young adults in the criminal justice system
STANDING COMMITTEE ON ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER AFFAIRS
House of Representatives committee
Thursday, 20 May 2010
Involvement of Indigenous juveniles and young adults in the criminal justice system
Final

CHAIR (Mr Debus) —A strange thing has happened, ladies and gentlemen. A colleague of mine, Danna Vale, was to come and be part of the committee during the interview, but she has been diverted in some way and is not coming. It does not matter much; all it means is that I have to conduct this meeting informally, instead of as a formal parliamentary committee hearing, and that is of no consequence to you. Later on when I go back to Canberra we will have a meeting with other MPs who are on the committee and we will pass a motion to make the transcript of this meeting a formal record.

The only real implication, apart from the fact that I am the only one asking questions—and I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing—is that you should try to avoid saying anything too unkind about other people because you are not protected by parliamentary privilege as you would be otherwise. Just conduct yourself like it is normal, really.

I am very grateful that you have all come. Our committee has been holding hearings for a couple of months. We have been in Perth, the Kimberley and Darwin; we have had video-link discussions with people in the Centre; and we have been in Cape York and the big capital cities where, of course, there are actually more Aboriginal people than there are in the Kimberley or Arnhem Land. Our meetings have had a quite similar form: groups like you have come along, then groups of people from government have come to talk about government programs, and we are drawing our own conclusions.

If for We are not going to try to write a great big encyclopaedia about the imprisonment of Aboriginal people because so many people know so much about the problem. We want to end up making a series of recommendations which will really affect government policy. Perhaps later on we may write a big book, but right now we want to be as practical as possible.

[11.38 am]