Indigenous Incarceration enews | Issue 3 | Meet the Commissioner

Meet the Commissioner

His Honour Judge Matthew Myers AM, newly minted ALRC Commissioner appointed to lead the Inquiry into incarceration rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, speaks about his journey in the law, and his perspective on this Inquiry.

Upcoming consultations

Consultation is always key to the ALRC inquiry process, and over the next couple of months, and again after the release of a Discussion Paper (end of June), we will be talking with a broad range of stakeholders including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their organisations, state and territory governments, relevant policy and research organisations, criminal justice and law enforcement agencies, legal assistance service providers, the broader legal profession, and community and non-government organisations. In February and early March we have been focusing on Sydney consultations (plus a day trip to Dubbo). This week we are in Brisbane for a few days, next week in Western Australia, then back to New South Wales briefly before heading to the Northern Territory for a week. Consultations in other states are in planning.

At the end of June we will release a Discussion Paper. This will include discussion of our research to date and proposals for law reform. The Discussion Paper will be accompanied by a formal call for submissions. The ALRC will embark on a second round of national consultations after the release of the Discussion Paper, seeking feedback on the proposals to assist in developing the final recommendations.

Advisory Committee

As indicated in our last enews, over the past few weeks we have been putting together an Advisory Committee, as per usual ALRC practice, to provide quality assurance in the research and consultation processes. The full Committee has not been finalised and a few positions remain to be filled. However we are happy to announce the following Advisory Committee members. We offer our sincere gratitude for their commitment to this Inquiry.

  • Councillor Roy Ah See, Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council, Central Coast
  • Associate Professor Thalia Anthony, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney
  • Professor Larissa Behrendt, Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology Sydney
  • Professor Tom Calma AO, Consultant, Canberra
  • Josephine Cashman, Lawyer, Sydney
  • Professor Chris Cunneen, School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, UNSW 
  • Professor Megan Davis, Indigenous Law Centre, University of New South Wales
  • Geoff McKechnie APM, Assistant Commissioner, NSW Police Force
  • The Hon Bob Debus AM
  • Mick Gooda, Royal Commission into the Protection and Detention of Children in NT
  • Adjunct Professor Russell Hogg, Crime and Justice Research Centre, Faculty of Law, Queensland University of Technology
  • Dr Victoria Hovane, Tjallara Consulting, Perth
  • Tony McAvoy SC, Frederick Jordan Chambers, Sydney
  • Dr Hannah McGlade, School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts, Curtin University, Perth
  • Wayne Muir, CEO, Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service
  • Susan Murphy, Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council, Perth
  • Commissioner Sally Sievers, Anti-Discrimination Commission, Darwin
  • Professor Julie Stubbs, Faculty of Law, UNSW, Sydney
  • George Zdenkowski, Magistrate and Adjunct Professor Faculty of Law, University of Tasmania, Sydney
  • Pauline Wright, President, Law Society of New South Wales

Inquiry artwork

We would like to draw attention to the artwork, created especially for the Inquiry by Rachael Sarra, Goreng Goreng, artist and designer with Gilimbaa. The circular image at the top of this enews is a detail from the larger work, titled ‘A Pathway for Justice’, and represents the prison system. The yellow cross-hatching pattern, used here and sporadically in the full image, symbolises hardships faced by those in the system and a disconnection from culture. The complexity of the issues surrounding the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the criminal justice system and the journey towards justice are reflected in the puzzle motif and blue rivers in the full Indigenous Incarceration Inquiry Artwork. Read the Artist’s Statement for her interpretation of the artwork. 

Welcome to the Inquiry interns

We are delighted that our call out to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law students to participate in this Inquiry as legal interns attracted attention, and last week we warmly welcomed three Indigenous law students: Desiree Leha, Ganur Maynard and Noah Bedford from the University of New South Wales. These interns will work alongside the Inquiry team during Semester 1, assisting with legal research tasks, attending consultations and participating in team discussions.

Semester 2 presents another opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law students to be involved in this Inquiry, and we encourage any interested candidates to contact us directly.