Graham, Chris: How we failed Elijah Doughty, and countless others

Chris Graham

How we failed Elijah Doughty, and countless others‘, New Matilda, 23 July 2017 updated

Riffs from the recent conviction and sentencing (to a relatively short time in gaol) of a West Australian man for running down and killing an Indigenous youth. The author reminds us, with detail, of the deaths of other Indigenous Australians in custody or otherwise, over the past 30 years. Some of these names were well-known at the time, others not so much. Most have been forgotten – by settler Australians, at least.

This catalogue of failures by the criminal justice system is well known to Aboriginal people [says Graham]. They live it and confront it every day. There could barely be an Aboriginal family in this country not touched by these tragedies, or let down by those charged to protect them.

It is a fact of life that tragedies happen, that people die, sometimes children. But when it happens in Australia, to those most brutalised and marginalised, our collective response is almost always found wanting. It is either one of silence, or faux sympathy, and never with any real effort to challenge and change a system that routinely delivers the outrages.

Lissa Johnson in New Matilda has more (30 July).

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