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Indigenous Social Justice Association — Melbourne
Who we are and what we stand for

The Indigenous Social Justice Association — Melbourne (ISJA – Melb) was established in January 2005 to organise a Melbourne rally and march as part of a National Day of Action (NDA) to mark the first anniversary of the death of Kamilaroi teenager, TJ Hickey in Redfern, and to demand a fresh inquiry into the circumstances surrounding his death.

Those organising this NDA held consultations with interested members of the Victorian Aboriginal community. Participants in these consultations enthusiastically supported the proposal for a Melbourne rally to demand justice for TJ but asked that this not be a one off event but part of an ongoing effort to permanently stop Aboriginal deaths in custody.

ISJA – Melb is a grassroots, multi-racial activist group — open to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people — which works collaboratively with others around the country campaigning to stop Indigenous deaths in custody. ISJA – Melb works in collaboration with those who have lost a loved one in custody and makes its decisions democratically with all meeting participants having an equal say.

ISJA — Melb primary objective is to stop Aboriginal deaths in custody and support Aboriginal peoples’ quest for justice. However, recognises that the struggle to end Indigenous deaths in custody cannot be separated from the wider campaign for Indigenous rights. This is why we also work to advance campaigns to recognise the Sovereignty of Australia’s many Indigenous nations and the negotiation of genuine treaties with these nations and why we oppose the Federal Government’s intervention into NT Aboriginal communities.

ISJA — Melb calls for:
• A massive reduction in the rate in Indigenous imprisonment which is currently 13 times to the rate for non-Indigenous Australians.
• The full implementation of the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, including those Recommendations that both arrest and imprisonment be the sanctions of last resort.
• Because nearly 50% of the deaths in custody investigated by the RCIADIC were of the stolen generations, that we call for the full implementation of the recommendations of the Bringing Them Home report.
• No  further increases in police powers – we oppose calls to further arm police with weapons such as tasers.
• The establishment of elected community based review boards with the full legal and legislative powers to investigate, discipline and charge police, prison and custodial health officers found to be involved in a death in custody, negligence or lack of duty of care to those they have a responsibility to and for. This is to include all juvenile justice areas.
• The provision by State and Federal Governments of adequate funding for Families who have lost a loved one in custody to meet at a state/territory level followed by a national meeting, as required, to allow their collective demands to be formulated, including suitable and adequate compensation.

ISJA – Melb also sees the connections between the treatment of Australia’s Indigenous nations and other Indigenous people and oppressed nations around the globe and extend our solidarity whenever we can. We also note a pattern of institutionalised racism embedded within the capitalist law both in Australia and in other parts of the world. This is why we support the campaign to free political prisoners such as Lex Wotton, Mumia Abu-Jamal and Leonard Peltier.

ISJA – Melb believes that what we do makes a difference. We organise rallies, speak-outs, meeting, community education, petitions, benefits and other grassroots campaigning to highlight injustice and win a world where deaths in custody no longer occur. We do not place our faith in the system to deliver justice for Aboriginal people. Instead, we work to build an effective grassroots movement that cannot be ignored.

We welcome new people to get actively involved in ISJA - Melb. To be added to our e-list contact: alison.thorne@ozemail.com.au

Meetings held on the first Thursday of each month at Solidarity Salon, 580 Sydney Road, Brunswick. For further information call 9388-0062

Issued by Indigenous Social Justice Association — Melbourne
PO Box 308, Brunswick Vic 3056 AUSTRALIA. Phone: 03-9388-0062