Members Statement – Aboriginal Justice Forum

Mr CARROLL (Niddrie) — The Age newspaper editorial yesterday said:

Over the past week through the treatment of Adam Goodes, Australia has once again had to look into the mirror. It is not a soft‑edged sepia‑toned portrait. There are flaws in the glass, which only honesty and a commitment to integrity can repair.

On 23 July I had the honour of representing the Victorian government at the 42nd Aboriginal Justice Forum (AJF) — possibly my most important meeting since becoming the Parliamentary Secretary for Justice last December. This was a very important meeting. Reconciliation between Aboriginal and non‑Aboriginal Victorians is a critical and ongoing process that requires deep commitment and respect.

I wanted to give the AJF the respect it deserved, so I arrived a day early for meetings with Koori leaders. A highlight was meeting with Rudy Kirby, CEO of Mallee District Aboriginal Services, and hearing about the great work the organisation is doing in investing upstream, with the biggest priorities being children from conception to four years of age and then up to eight years of age. Mr Kirby has said:

We know that, if we can invest there, we can change the next generation.

The night before the forum I attended the Koori Caucus for dinner, and the following day the official AJF commenced in Mildura on the land of the Latje Latje and their nearest neighbours, the Barkindji people, with a welcome to country from Aunty Janine Wilson.

It was apparent to me that a significant amount of work goes into preparing for the quarterly AJF. I acknowledge the commitment of the Koori Caucus members, who work with the Department of Justice and Regulation’s Koori justice unit to coordinate these critical partnership events. I thank the Loddon Mallee Regional Aboriginal Justice Advisory Committee for hosting the forum. In particular I thank the committee chair, Aunty Jemmes Handy, and the deputy chair, Mr John Mitchell. I would also like to thank — —

The ACTING SPEAKER (Mr Angus) — Order! The time for members to make statements has ended.