• Head of the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council, Warren Mundine. (NITV)Source: NITV
Indigenous leader Warren Mundine, Chairman of the Australian Government Indigenous Advisory Council since 2013, answers NITV’s questions on domestic violence in Indigenous communities.
By
Ross Turner

6 Oct 2016 - 11:21 AM  UPDATED 6 Oct 2016 - 11:24 AM

Key Points:

- Mundine launched an attack on Monday on Australia's political leaders, saying they aren't doing enough to solve the shocking rates of violence against women and sexual abuse of children in Indigenous communities.

- Indigenous politicians, including Federal Labor MP Linda Burney have slammed the criticism, saying government funding cuts for programs to tackle domestic violence happened on Mundine’s watch.

 

BIO: Warren Mundine made history in 2006 by becoming the first Indigenous Australian to serve as a President of an Australian political party.  
He has awarded with the Centenary Medal for services to the community and local government, the Bennelong Medal for Leadership in Indigenous Affairs and an ‘Honoris Causa’ Doctorate by Southern Cross University.

 

NITV: Domestic Violence in Australia has been considered as ‘out of control’. Why would a coroner make a statement like that?

WM: I do believe that statement is true, it is out of control and no one that has answers for how we can beat it.

 

NITV: Why is there hesitancy by women to report cases of domestic violence? What more can we do to encourage them to speak on the record?

WM: The advice that we have been given by Lana Bremmer who suffered for years from domestic violence is that we need to see it not as domestic violence, but as family violence, and even community violence.

Its impact is so widespread that it can affect the community. But the problem is that when a woman identifies that domestic violence has taken place, and the community finds out about it, people in the community reflect the problems back onto the women, rather than onto the perpetrator.

 

NITV: Jacinta Price gave a lecture on the home truths of domestic violence where she said that there is an unspoken epidemic of violence against Indigenous women. Are programs for perpetrators needed?

WM: I think we need to assess the programs and see their outcomes. I’ve spoken with the WA and NT deputy police commissioners and they have said that if people think that calling the cops simply solves the problem, it doesn’t. The cops just arrest the man and put him in prison, the bigger problem of domestic violence doesn’t get solved.

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NITV: Recently, we’ve seen police shoot Indigenous men under questionable circumstances. What does it say about the justice system when it appears that Indigenous men are being targeted, especially when there aren’t any warrants out for them, such as in Mr Doolan’s case?

WM: It’s a big statement to say that they are being targeted. All I’ve seen in terms of police shootings is what has happened in the last 2 weeks, I can’t think of anything outside of that in recent years, so I’m worried that this could be the start of a new trend. I’d also need to see more evidence on this.

 

NITV: Should there be more Indigenous police and prison officers?

WM: No doubt more corrective services officers are needed. But the problem I see is that the prison system is based on an 18th and 19th century male-dominated system, where people are just locked up. We’re seeing that (ineffectiveness) in the rates of recidivism. We aren’t seeing people’s behaviour corrected as its name suggests it should be.

Overall, we should be seeing more recruitment of Indigenous police and corrective services officers. That would be significant.

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NITV: What are your thoughts on Turnbull’s Indigenous suicide summit? What will it achieve?

WM: Well I’m over summits. I think there are always summits for everything nowadays. We have summits or royal commissions whenever reports come out. What we need is the courage to implement the changes that are suggested from the big reports, such as those that come from royal commissions. We should be implementing the changes suggested and in full.

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