Stop Black Deaths in Custody


Media Statement

 All Lives Will Matter When Black Lives Matter

 Protest Gathering: Franklin Square 5.30 pm today

Aborigines and our supporters will today stand in solidarity with the Warlpiri of Yuendumu and all other Aboriginal communities in Australia who have lost loved ones in the ongoing war between Australia and Aboriginal people.

The CEO of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre, Heather Sculthorpe, said, “Australia still has blood on its hands. From the dispossession of our people to the latest police shooting of an Aboriginal teenager in the Northern Territory, Aboriginal lives have been sacrificed to enable the invaders the keep control of our lands and people. All people now living in Australia need to stand up against this tragedy”.

The latest police killing has led to ongoing protests outside the Alice Springs police station. The Aboriginal community in Lutruwita/Tasmania is standing in solidarity with Aboriginal people all around Australia to demand an end to the State sponsored killings.

Ms Sculthorpe said, “Australia has known for over 2 generations what needs to be done to make our people safe in our own country. It took the Royal Commissions into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and Separation of Children to ensure the truth of the aftermath of invasion was known to governments and the public. Yet still the killings continue.”

Recent police killings have shown “how easy it would have been to avoid Aboriginal deaths in State custody if simple measures had been adopted”, Ms Sculthorpe said.

In 2017 Victorian Aboriginal woman Tanya Day died in police custody. She was asleep on a train when Victoria Police arrested her for being drunk in a public place. In the police lock up an incident occurred and her head hit the cell wall. An ambulance wasn’t called until three hours later – and she died.

In Western Australia in 2014 Ms Dhu, aged 22, was imprisoned for unpaid fines totalling $3622.  Police failed to acknowledge her distress as real after State health authorities failed to diagnose her medical problems. She was sick with pneumonia and had sepsis from an infection due to broken ribs. She died despite the Royal Commission recommendations.

There have been over 400 Aboriginal deaths in custody since the report of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. Since August 2018, 17 more Aboriginal people have died in police custody, bringing this figure to well over 420.

“The right to life is a basic human right still being denied to Aboriginal people in Australia. We call on everyone to join the national protests around Australia today”, Ms Sculthorpe said.

The protest will begin at 5.30pm in Franklin Square, November 13, 2019.

Heather Sculthorpe


Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre