There is indeed a crisis in Victoria's youth justice system. It is not one, as the Government suggests, of available beds or suitable facilities – these things are imminently fixable with a dose of political will. Rather, the crisis is one of a myopic outlook and a merciless attitude: a willingness to countenance cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.Read More
Brutal images of Aboriginal women and children being mistreated in custody are a defining feature of 2016. From Dylan Voller and the young detainees of Don Dale to Ms Dhu, Australians have been forced to reckon with the cruel reality of Australia's over-imprisonment crisis.Read More
I've just returned from Barwon maximum security adult prison. I found myself squatting on the floor to talk to one of our clients – a 16-year-old child – through the trapdoor to his cell. The tight steel opening so small I could only see his anxious eyes. He is being held in solitary confinement; pacing his cell, uncertain when he will be let out. He hasn't seen the sky since Thursday.Read More
We need to get to the bottom of what went wrong with the riot at the Parkville Youth Justice Centre. We don’t need lazy, kneejerk populist responses, like transferring kids to adults jails, which are designed to sound tough on crime and which in fact will only make things worse.Read More
Malcolm Turnbull’s proposed lifetime visa ban is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist and an attempt to distract us from one that does.
The proposal is absurd, the wedge politics cynical and the explanations insincere. Sadly, the fear and harm being caused is real.Read More
Late last year, a friend told me that we need to make sure we don't look back in the future on human rights as just a passing phase. It was a comment that kept coming back to me over the past 12 months with Brexit, the re-rise of Pauline Hanson, the hardening of Turnbull and now Trump.Read More
Last year, Kumanjayi Langdon, a proud and respected 59-year-old Warlpiri man from a large family, died in police custody in Darwin.
His crime? Police suspected he was drinking in a local park. He wasn’t causing any disruption and was polite and cooperative at all times.Read More
Dragged from her cell. Handcuffed and paralysed. Hauled, dying, into the back of a police truck. This week Australia may be confronted, yet again, with images and footage of the justice system failing Aboriginal people, with devastating results.Read More
Our Prime Minister, Immigration Minister and Foreign Minister have spent this week in New York attending high-profile global summits on refugees. They arrived insisting that the Australian government's policies were the "best in the world", but they'll leave having offered little more than self-congratulations.Read More