12 June 2020

National Cabinet fails leadership test on Aboriginal deaths in custody

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has left the lives of 437 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people killed in custody off the agenda of today’s National Cabinet meeting.


George Floyd’s death has triggered a movement across the globe that resonates deeply with the hundreds of years of systemic racism, violence and deaths in custody First Nations people have endured in Australia.

National Cabinet has the power to address this crisis by setting policy to end racist policing and ensure there are no more deaths in custody. 

GetUp’s FIrst Nations Campaign Director Larissa Baldwin said: 

“National Cabinet could be talking today about how to end racist policing and ensure there are no more deaths in custody.  

“The Black Lives Matter movement has swept across the country, people everywhere are demanding justice for the 437 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have been killed in custody. 

“Instead Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lives have been left off the national agenda and the Prime Minister has denied Australia’s history of slavery and condemned people taking to the streets to demand justice.

“This is a test of the new national cabinet model which has undertaken a crisis leadership role at a time when the Aboriginal deaths in custody crisis has reached boiling point.

We could change the law today to implement the recommendations from countless inquiries and wind back racist policing , all we need is the political will. 

“Black lives matter and it’s time for the state to act like it. It’s time for justice for the 437 families who have lost a loved one in custody since 1991.

“The culture of violent policing in this country needs to change. The cost of it continuing is too high, it’s the lives of our family members.

“It’s time for our leaders to step up and dismantle the systems of oppression and racism so ingrained in our country, rather than oppose the very protests trying to achieve this.”