This country was invaded. The sovereignty of First Nations people has never been ceded. First Nations people were violently dispossessed, their children stolen, their families separated, and their lands, waters, and skies stolen and destroyed.
First Nations people in New South Wales continue to face brutal, racist, and systemic barriers on the path to self-determination. Since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, hundreds of First Nations people have died in police custody and no one has been held to account. Racist policies continue to result in health inequities and educational inequality. Aggressive over-policing of First Nations children, adults, and Elders result in child removal, disproportionate incarceration, and ultimately deaths in custody. The State continues to sanction the destruction of cultural heritage and rights to land, and natural resources are controlled through colonial systems.
The Greens will begin the process of truth-telling and treaty. The Greens will raise the age of criminal responsibility and keep children with family and community. The Greens will introduce stand-alone cultural heritage laws controlled by Aboriginal People and expand rights to land. The Greens will divert all First Nations people from the prison system into a place-based First Nations-led reinvestment system that addresses the underlying needs and risk factors related to multigenerational trauma.
The Greens will commence a state-wide process of truth-telling and healing, on the path to Treaty and self-determination for First Nations people of New South Wales.
Truth Telling and Treaty
All of us need to understand the true history of NSW and its ongoing impact on First Nations people before we can move forward as a healed state. A Treaty, or Treaties, between the Traditional Owners of the land – the oldest living cultures on earth – and the state that imposed its authority violently upon First Nations people without their consent, has never been negotiated.
In NSW, First Nations people never ceded sovereignty. The Greens will work to develop a comprehensive truth telling and treaty process that delivers self determination for First Nations people, including dedicated representation in the NSW Parliament.
The Greens will work to develop a Truth and Treaty process that delivers self-determination for First Nations people in NSW.
A Treaty is a formal agreement between First Nations people and the NSW Government that acknowledges First Nations sovereignty, protects rights and sets the underlying terms for First Nations people to negotiate with the Government moving forward.
THE GREENS NSW WILL:
A TREATY PROCESS WILL:
Raise The Age
The international standard for the age a young person can be held criminally responsible is 14 years. Many countries do not send young people to prison. Instead, young people who offend receive social and psychological responses rather than criminal responses.
First Nations children and young people make up more than half of the young people in prison in New South Wales. This disproportionate number of First Nations young people in prison is a marker of the ongoing impacts of colonisation and dispossession.
The Greens will Raise the Age of Criminal Responsibility to 14 years of age and no person under 16 years of age in New South Wales will go to prison.
Stop Aboriginal Deaths in Custody
The best way to stop Blak deaths in custody is to keep First Nations people out of prison. In 2021, NSW reported the highest number of First Nations deaths in custody since recording began. While the overall number of people in prison is trending downward, the percentage of First Nations people incarcerated in New South Wales is worsening. We urgently need to implement all recommendations from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and end this injustice.
The Greens will push the next government to acknowledge the harms the criminal justice system causes to Aboriginal people and communities and develop a plan, designed by and for First Nations people, to implement statewide justice reinvestment programs. The Greens will hand justice powers back to First Nations communities, developing statewide community courts controlled by First Nations people. The Greens will introduce new prison oversight mechanism to prevent torture and degrading treatment of people in custody and hold these institutions to account.