Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander justice

The ALA’s vision for reconciliation is of a society that provides fairer outcomes and justice for everyone, and in doing so addresses the systemic injustice that currently impacts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We recognise that the Australian legal system has dispossessed, disempowered and marginalised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and has often failed to adequately represent them.

We advocate for law reform that protects and promotes justice, freedom and the rights of individuals and particular groups. This commitment applies to everyone in Australia, and we acknowledge that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have unique needs that need to be addressed as we work towards achieving equality and self-determination.

The areas of focus for our policy work include:

  • Advocating for constitutional recognition of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament;
  • Addressing the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the criminal justice system;
  • Ensuring access to well-funded and appropriately resourced legal services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities;
  • Addressing the obstacles and barriers that make it difficult for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people with disability to access appropriate support services, including the NDIS;
  • Obtaining fair redress for the serious injustice suffered by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people who were abused as children in institutions, following their forced removal from their parents and their subsequent institutionalisation.

Our policy and advocacy work is guided by our Reconciliation Action Plan which formalises our commitment to reconciliation.

Our Policy and Advocacy Manager, Dr Louis Schetzer has prepared an article on how ALA members and office bearers can observe the Acknowledgment of Country — an important and symbolic act of respect towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Our submissions in relation to justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are listed below:

Submission To Date
Joint submission for the report of the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples to the General Assembly — Impact of COVID-19 on indigenous peoples

Mr Francisco Calí Tzay, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples

19 June 2020
Joint submission: OPCAT, places of detention and COVID-19

Select Committee on COVID-19, Parliament of Australia

27 May 2020
NDIS Workforce Joint Standing Committee on the National Disability Insurance Scheme, Parliament of Australia 15 April 2020
Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability Commissioners, Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability 20 March 2020
 
Open letter to Australian governments on COVID-19 and the criminal justice system Australian governments  20 March 2020
Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability – the Criminal Justice System Commissioners, Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability 12 March 2020
Age of Criminal Responsibility Working Group Review Council of Attorneys-General 13 February 2020
Native Title Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 Parliament of Australia, Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee 28 November 2019
Nationhood, National Identity and Democracy Parliament of Australia, Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee 18 September 2019
Inquiry into Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Parliament of Australia, Joint Select Committee on
Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

Interim Report

Final Report

12 June 2018