21.09.17 1.1 MILLION DOLLAR EX-GRATIA PAYMENT AND APOLOGY TO MS DHU’S FAMILY

1.1 MILLION DOLLAR EX-GRATIA PAYMENT AND APOLOGY TO MS DHU’S FAMILY

I welcome the news of a $1.1 million dollar ex-gratia payment and apology to the family of Ms Dhu from the McGowan Labor Government.

It has been more than three years since Ms Dhu’s death, in which her family has suffered immensely through their continuing fight for justice.

No compensation was given by the previous Barnett Government, prolonging the family’s sense of justice denied.

Of course, no amount of money or recognition can undo the unjust factors that led to Ms. Dhu’s death, nor the trauma suffered by Ms Dhu’s family.

I remain horrified by the circumstances of Ms Dhu’s preventable death in custody in South Hedland lock up over unpaid fines in 2014. The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) made 339 recommendations in 1987 and had those recommendations been implemented, Ms Dhu might still be here today. 

But the ex-gratia payment and apology have been a necessary step by the Western Australian Government in acknowledging the family’s suffering and that the justice system failed Ms Dhu.

Practical steps need to be taken from here to ensure we do not see another preventable death in custody in WA.

WA Attorney General John Quigley has pointed to moves to introduce a Custody Notification Service, a measure which we know works to reduce deaths in custody. This was a key recommendation of the RCIADIC and Coroner Ros Fogliani in the inquest following Ms Dhu’s death.

Nationally, the Turnbull Government should commit to introducing national justice targets under the Closing the Gap framework.

THURSDAY, 21 SEPTEMBER 2017

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