• Labor and Greens senators are calling for the Prime Minister to meet with First Nations families who have lost loved ones in custody. (Sipa USA Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call/Sipa U)Source: Sipa USA Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call/Sipa U
Labor and Greens senators put forward a motion on Tuesday urging the Prime Minister to meet with the families of people who have died in custody.
By
Sarah Collard

Source:
NITV News
16 Feb 2021 - 6:38 PM  UPDATED 16 Feb 2021 - 7:10 PM

Labor and Greens senators have put forward a motion on Tuesday urging the Prime Minister to meet with the families of people who have died in custody. 

The motion in the senate called on the government to fully implement the 330 recommendations made by the Royal Commission in 1991. 

Labor senator and commissioner, Patrick Dodson and Greens senator Lidia Thorpe called for the Prime Minister to meet with families left behind on the anniversary of the report being handed down. 

The motion also said they were 'dismayed' that 455 First Nations people have died in custody since the report came down. 

The vote divided the senate with 29 votes supporting the move while 29 voted against the motion.

Liberal senator Jonathon Duniam told Parliament that every death in custody is tragic but the over-representation of First Nations people in prison was leading to deaths. 

"As the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody found - the fundamental issue is that too many Aboriginal people are in custody too often," the Tasmanian senator said.  

He said a 2017 independent review of the implementation of the Royal Commission found the recommendations were largely enacted. 

"The Australian government fully or mostly implemented 91 percent of recommendations for which it had responsibility," he said.

"The Morrison government is committed to working with the states and territories who have responsibility for their justice systems and communities through initiatives such as Closing the Gap." 

A petition by Indigenous advocates and families of those whose loved ones have died in custody are urging the Prime Minister to meet with families in April.

Latoya Rule's brother, Wayne 'Fella' Morrison died in custody in Adelaide in 2016  three days after the altercation with corrections staff at Yatala prison left him brain dead.

Ms Rule said she and other families felt 'invisible'.

"This meeting would have been a step in the right direction to creating purposeful and practical actions on this for us," Latoya Rule told NITV news. 

'It's an injustice."

April marks 30 years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody report was handed down. 

Families unite to demand justice for their loved ones who died in custody
Fifteen families who have lost loved ones in custody have started a petition, asking for the PM to meet with them.