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By Tim Watts

Australia needs to do much more to tackle the shocking levels of poverty, inequality, incarceration and deaths in custody endured by our own First Nations people. The past few weeks have highlighted this, but we have known for centuries that Indigenous people have been marginalised and discriminated against in this country.

There have been over 400 Indigenous deaths in custody since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody concluded in 1991. First Nations people are still grossly overrepresented in prison – making up 29 per cent of those in jail, but just three per cent of the broader population. In some places, over 80 per cent of those in jail are Indigenous. In part, this is a result of Australia’s failure to properly address poverty and social justice issues, and a failure to honestly acknowledge the trauma of the past and the persistence of discrimination.

With all of my federal Labor colleagues, I stand in solidarity with Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people across the country, fighting together for a better future. I hope that the principles of the Uluru Statement – like a Constitutionally-enshrined Voice to Parliament – are implemented to ensure fairer representation of Indigenous people on the national stage.

Federal Labor will keep pushing the Morrison Government to do just this.

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