Slurring laws will criminalise Aborigines, not stop crime
12 May 2009
New laws giving police the power to move on people who are slurring their words will cement a long tradition of criminalising Aboriginal people for public order offences, according to Dr Thalia Anthony.
In an opinion piece in today's Sydney Morning Herald, Dr Anthony writes that
"History shows indigenous people are most likely to be caught by this type of legislation and incarcerated for the mere appearance of intoxication.
"The discriminatory policing of drunk Aboriginal people is blatant.
"Indigenous people are 42 times more likely than other Australians to be in custody for public drunkenness.
"Through its move-on slurring powers, the NSW Government has provided another back-door means for incarcerating drunk Aboriginal people.
"The police will have wide discretion and will set the bar for public drunkenness as low as they deem appropriate.
"It is another sad attempt to criminalise indigenous behaviour rather than criminal activity."
Contact: Greg Sherington
Phone: +61 2 9351 0202