The Council of Australian Law Deans (CALD) condemns the systemic discrimination that permeates the Australian legal system with respect to First Nations peoples. Structural, unconscious or explicit bias manifests itself in the on-going deaths in custody of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and is directly attributable to the criminal justice system’s pervasive police brutality, persistent want of care, and repeated failures to follow process or, even, the dictates of common humanity.
Without limiting the possibility of other actions and as a first response, CALD calls upon all Australian governments – both state and federal – to implement all of the 339 recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, as well as the recommendations of other relevant reports. Further, CALD urges all Australian law schools to work in partnership with First Nations peoples to give priority to the creation of culturally competent and culturally safe courses and programs. In so doing, CALD acknowledges the part that Australian legal education has played in supporting, either tacitly or openly, the law’s systemic discrimination and structural bias against First Nations peoples. At the same time, CALD affirms the positive contribution Australian law schools can, should and will make, in full partnership with First Nations peoples, in exposing, critiquing and remedying all forms of institutionalised injustice.
CALD unequivocally endorses its commitment to a legal system free of systemic discrimination and structural bias.
For context to this Statement, please refer to https://cald.asn.au/first-nations-peoples/.