In a recent heart-breaking article in The Saturday Paper discussed a 10-year-old Indigenous child’s incarceration in the notorious Don Dale prison in the Northern Territory. Despite a recent Royal Commission into this prison recommendations have not been implemented and the cruelty, abuse, intimidation and blatant racism continues to destroy the souls of families and incarcerated children.
The federal government has the power to intervene – it hasn’t. This incarcerated Indigenous child, no matter what he tells his mother, isn’t alright and Australian settlers are unconsciously socialised to live on stolen land. The history of genocide cannot be forgotten. We live in false consciousness; this combination of factors is totally unconscionable and unconstitutional. Australians know deep in their hearts that this ongoing brutality to First Nations peoples must end.
‘Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately criminal people. Our children are alienated from their families at unprecedented rates. This cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene numbers. They should be our hope for the future. These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the torment of our powerlessness.’ (Statement from the Heart)
The gap widens when addressing Indigenous equity. There have been over 500 deaths in custody since the Royal Commission in 1991. Para-military technologies are utilised in prisons, Indigenous organs continue to be removed from victims.
Byron Council have ratified the Uluru Charter and the International Charter of Human Rights, complete with a Bill of Rights. As such they hold the power to address homelessness for Indigenous people, be creative and compassionate and develop structural equity for all dispossessed members of society. Byron does not have to be developed according to vulgar bourgeois values. We all face the climate change crisis collectively. We are better than the current model of outdated colonial value systems. We have to all change from the soul, heart and mind. It can be done. We can walk with the wisest, oldest culture on the planet as they lead the way to ecological integrity. Do uphold the Voice to Parliament in our collective Constitution. Civil society can do it. Easy, folks.