• WA’s attorney-general said ‘now was the time for mercy’ for Jody Carolyn Gore. (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The women feared imprisonment because Western Australia jails people for unpaid fines.
Rangi Hirini, Ella Archibald-Binge

17 Apr 2019 - 3:45 PM  UPDATED 17 Apr 2019 - 3:45 PM

A fundraising campaign which began four months ago prevented 130 Aboriginal women from being imprisoned for unpaid fines and freed 11 others.

The campaign launched in January and within 48-hours achieved its goal of raising $99,000.

Since then it has raised more than $390,000.

Organisers say an “unjust” law in Western Australia is having a crippling impact on poor families and that it disproportionately affects Indigenous people.

Sisters Inside chief executive, Debbie Kilroy, who started the fundraiser, said the campaign would continue until the law was changed.

“I know what’s it’s like to be prison,” she told NITV.

“It’s actually horrific when the government knows that Aboriginal women - Aboriginal mothers - are going into prison.”

While visiting Perth this week Ms Kilroy met some of the women who were freed from jail or feared imprisonment.

“Aboriginal women are dying in custody, and there a high risk that another woman may die in custody and that’s what I’m most concerned about,” she said.

A spokesperson for the WA attorney general, John Quigley, told NITV that legislation to change the law would be put before parliament by the middle of the year.

NITV understands that under the legislation being drafted, arrest warrants would only be issued once all other avenues have been exhausted, and even then the person will have a court hearing.

Ms Kilroy said that would "absolutely” be a step in the right direction from the WA Government, who made an election promise to repeal the laws.

She also said that while her fundraising campaign put a spotlight on the issue, it's ultimately a victory for WA’s Indigenous community.

“Aboriginal people over there have been fighting for this for years and years,” Ms Kilroy said.

“I didn’t do this – Aboriginal people did this.”

'Keeping women out of prison': campaign surges past the $230,000 mark
A young mum of three and domestic violence victim living in fear of being arrested over unpaid fines has had her warrant paid out, with many other women in a similar predicament identified by campaign organisers.
Yirri Yaarkin dancer falls victim to WA fine laws
Rubeun Yorkshire is being held in prison for $1700 of unpaid fines, despite having no prior criminal convictions.
EXCLUSIVE: Melbourne pensioner reveals why he paid jailed WA mum’s fines
Peter Clark, a 69-year-old Melbourne pensioner, felt compelled to help a Noongar mum, after reading about how she had been arrested for unpaid fines after calling the police to report a family violence incident.