Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Indigenous welfare quarantine scheme gets go ahead

Parents in four Cape York Indigenous communities could soon have their welfare payments quarantined if they do not take care of their children and homes and do not stay out of trouble with the law.

As of July, the new Family Responsibility Commission will have powers to manage welfare payments in Aurukun, Coen, Hope Vale and Mossman Gorge.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh says it will be a difficult time for some residents and the trial won't be an overnight success.

"In light of past policy failures we simply have to try something different," she said.

The Opposition voted in favour of the bill, but leader Lawrence Springborg says it is just one step in the right direction.

"One step doesn't get us very far," he said.

Ms Bligh says the radical new approach to welfare has been led by the communities themselves.

"It is not the work of Mal Brough or Brendan Nelson or Anna Bligh or Peter Beattie," she said.

"It is the intellectual hard yards done by the likes of Noel Pearson, by the people who worked on his team and by the leadership of the communities of Aurukun, Coen, Mosman Gorge and Hopevale that deserve credit."

Meanwhile, the working party Ms Bligh set up to discuss a referendum on fixed four-year parliamentary terms will meet for the first time today but the Opposition still wants certain conditions met before it will agree to a poll.


Seminar: Indigenous Sentencing Courts and Partner Violence

Presenter: Dr. Elena Marchetti is a Senior Lecturer in the Griffith Law School, Griffith University (formerly, she was a law lecturer in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, Griffith University). During a 6-month period in 2005-06, she was Acting Director of the Centre for Credit and Consumer Law, Griffith University. Elena has been conducting research on race, whiteness and Indigenous justice issues since 1999. She has been researching the Indigenous sentencing courts since 2001. She completed her PhD in 2005 on ‘Missing Subjects: Women and Gender in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody’.

Abstract: There has been growing concern regarding the increasing violence against women and children in Indigenous communities. It is important to find good practice guidelines to address family violence but unfortunately there has been little evaluation of the anti-violence programs that have been established by Indigenous people within their communities. The inclusion of Elders in the Magistrates’ Court system is an initiative which has been, in some court sites, instigated by the Indigenous community. At other court sites, the Magistrate and government departments have established the courts with the community’s involvement. In this presentation I will firstly describe what feminist and critical race scholars have said about using alternative justice forums to deal with domestic violence offences. Secondly, I will give a brief description of the Indigenous sentencing courts in Australia. Thirdly, I will talk a little bit about some of my findings from preliminary research I have been conducting (with funding from Griffith University). I have collected data from interviews with Magistrates, Elders, court workers and domestic violence support workers to investigate whether the processes of the Indigenous sentencing courts are suitable for dealing with the sentencing of domestic violence offenders and whether they address the concerns raised by feminist and critical race scholars. Finally, I will briefly outline the research proposed in an ARC Discovery grant application which I have recently submitted with Professor Kathleen Daly and Dr Jackie Huggins.

School of Justice Seminar Series
School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology
Gardens Point Campus
X Block, Level 5 Conference Room

1pm, Friday, 14th March 2008

RSVP to Georgina Vidgen by 13th March 2008

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