Jun 6th 2020

The lives of the 432 Aboriginal people killed in custody matter

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.

The Black Lives Matter movement has swept across the country, with protests in Canberra and Darwin, legal fundraisers for families that are flooded with support, and a huge show of public support for long overdue urgent reform in this country.

GetUp is calling on leaders to act: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths in custody must be put on the National Cabinet agenda and the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody must finally be properly implemented.

For those that cannot physically attend protests due to legal or health reasons, GetUp will livestream the Brisbane march and encourages supporters to engage by watching and sharing the voices of First Nations leaders.

Larissa Baldwin, First Nations Justice Campaign Director at GetUp said:

“The families of the victims of these deaths in custody don’t have a choice but to continue to call for justice. I urge people to get involved in this movement however they can.

“Black lives matter and it’s time for the state to act like it. It’s time for justice for the 432 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.

David Hill Snr, the father of David Dungay who died after of a choking restraint by prison officers in Long Bay prison in 2015, said:

“On behalf of my family to the Floyd family we would like to send our deepest condolences to you. Our hearts go out to you in this tragic time.

“Losing my son the way I did is still traumatising me and my family.

“No parent should ever have to go through this, seeing it happen all over again to the Floyd family is too much for me and my family.

“I am still a father and seeing all this on the news is affecting my family in a lot of ways and as a father I also need to protect them so if you are going to protest please do it peacefully.

“There’s been enough Aboriginal deaths in custody and deaths overseas to our fellow brothers and sisters and it needs to end now.”