Woor-Dungin’s Criminal Record Discrimination Project will be presenting at the 49th Aboriginal Justice Forum (AJF), now to be held 12-13 December in Swan Hill, Victoria. The AJF was postponed last month due to the passing of a significant community elder.
The AJF is a quarterly meeting for the Victorian government to hear the views of Victoria’s Aboriginal communities on justice matters. It emerged from the Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement, a partnership that was established in 2000 between the Victorian Government and Victorian Aboriginal communities to improve justice outcomes for Victorian Aboriginal people.
Woor-Dungin has assembled a coalition of stakeholders to present our submission, including Simone Spencer from Mallee District Aboriginal Services, Wenzel Carter from Willum Warrain Aboriginal Association, Naomi Murphy from Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS) and Stan Winford from RMIT University.
The submission, the result of an extensive consultation process, is intended to make the case for the following reforms in Victoria:
(1) the introduction of a legislated spent convictions scheme in Victoria, and
(2) an amendment to the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) to prohibit discrimination against people on the basis of an irrelevant criminal record.
Aboriginal people in Victoria are disproportionately disadvantaged by the lack of a spent convictions scheme and the absence of any protection from discrimination on the ground of irrelevant criminal records.
Our submission will attempt to demonstrate why this is a priority area for reform for Aboriginal people in Victoria and has been endorsed by a broad range of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal stakeholders, such as VALS, Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association and Law Institute of Victoria, and individuals including Uncle Larry Walsh and Uncle Jack Charles, whose stories underpin the case for reform.