Joint Media Release with Attorney-General Senator The Hon George Brandis QC
Today we announce the appointment of Judge Matthew Myers AM of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia as Commissioner of the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) inquiry into the incarceration rate of Indigenous Australians.
We announced this important review in October 2016 to examine the factors leading to the over representation of Indigenous Australians in our prison system and to consider reforms to the law to ameliorate this.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make up 27 per cent of Australia’s prison population, despite only being three per cent of Australia’s national population.
Judge Myers has a wealth of knowledge and experience, including in Indigenous legal issues. He was appointed to the Federal Circuit Court in 2012 as Australia’s first Indigenous Commonwealth judicial officer. He is a Judge in the Newcastle Registry of the Federal Circuit Court.
We thank Judge Myers for his willingness to serve the people of Australia through this important work. The Turnbull Government acknowledges that this appointment creates a temporary vacancy in the Newcastle Registry of the Federal Circuit Court. This will be resolved in consultation with Chief Judge John Pascoe AC CVO.
In December 2016, the Government released a consultation draft Terms of Reference for the inquiry. After wide consultation, including with state and territory governments and Indigenous communities and organisations, the Terms of Reference have now been finalised. We thank those who provided their views.
The ALRC will examine the laws, frameworks and institutions and broader contextual factors that lead to the disturbing over representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our prison system.
The ALRC will report to the Government by 22 December 2017.
The Government is committed to working with Indigenous Australians, state and territory governments, the legal profession and the wider community to develop solutions for this complex issue.
The Terms of Reference are available at: ag.gov.au/Consultations/Pages/Australian-Law-Reform-Commission-inquiry-into-incarceration-rate-of-Indigenous-Australians.aspx