We’ve just heard that due to the passing of a community Elder, the 49th AJF in Swan Hill has in fact been postponed until further notice.
On Friday of this week members of Woor-Dungin’s Criminal Record Discrimination Project (CRDP) will submit a paper to the 49th Aboriginal Justice Forum, to be held 26 and 27 October in Swan Hill, Victoria.
The Aboriginal Justice Forum is a quarterly meeting for the Victorian government to hear the views of the Aboriginal community on justice matters. It emerged from the Victorian Aboriginal Justice Agreement, a partnership that was established in 2000 between the Victorian Government and the Koori community to improve justice outcomes for Victorian Aboriginal people.
Woor-Dungin’s 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.
Victoria remains the only state or territory in Australia without a spent convictions scheme, and is one of several states yet to enact equal opportunity protections for people with irrelevant criminal histories.
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. In the absence of legislation, the release of criminal history in Victoria is based on the
exercise of a broad and ill-defined discretion by Victoria Police.
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 Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service, 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.
The CRDP is an Aboriginal-led collaboration between numerous community and legal organisations established to address calls from the community for a response to the issues faced by Aboriginal people dealing with the lack of regulation of criminal records in Victoria.