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Submission to Law Reform Commission

Francis, J. Submission to Law Reform Commission.

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It was acknowledged over a decade ago that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are disadvantaged with respect to health, employment and incarceration levels.1 The Attorney-General of Australia furthermore announced in his media release last year that the imprisonment rate of Indigenous Australians still remains over-represented throughout prisons nationwide.2 Since then, research on this matter has undertaken and the Law Reform Commission has called for submissions into the inquiry of the incarceration rates of Indigenous people.3 In this paper I will present my submission by firstly discussing the issue of alcohol-related offences by Indigenous Australians and how section 7(1)(g) of the Aboriginal Communities Act 1979 (WA) (“Section 7(1)(g)”) aims to target those offences and consequently reduce incarceration. I also address what the rule of law doctrine is and conclude that Section 7(1)(g) does comply with its key principles. Then I will explain how Section 7(1)(g) is actually ineffective in targeting Indigenous alcohol abuse and rather contributes to the over-representation of incarceration rates. Lastly, I will present the findings of my own research regarding a solution, and discuss my recommendations for a new scheme to target alcohol-related offences. The final report of the ‘Inquiry into the Harmful Use of Alcohol in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities’ by the Senate Standing Committee on Indigenous Affairs amongst other resources were considered when drafting this paper and will be referred to throughout it in support of my submission.

Item Type: Others
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Law
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United Nations SDGs: Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
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