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Indigenous Women, Incarceration

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN ( 15:23 ): My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation. Can the minister advise the chamber what strategy the government has implemented to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal women in our prison and community corrections populations?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) ( 15:24 ): I thank the honourable member for his question. However, I am starting to reassess the long-held belief that he is the next natural leader of this chamber with the imminent demise of the Hon. David Ridgway, who we know has been under a great deal of pressure lately, and he is showing signs of that.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! Was that it?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: No, thank you, Mr President. As I say, he has been touted by many as the next natural choice for leader, but after doing a poorer version of a question that his colleague sitting next to him asked only a few questions ago, I think that deserves reassessment.

The substance of the question is serious, however. As I answered the Hon. Jing Lee’s question earlier, there is a process being undertaken by the corrections minister looking at reducing the rates of recidivism and how to reduce our prison population, given the all too high over-representation of both Aboriginal men and Aboriginal women in our prison system. That will be a particular focus of that. I will certainly discuss that with my colleague, the Minister for Correctional Services, and I am sure he will be happy to continue to inform the chamber of the results of that process.

The Hon. A.L. McLACHLAN ( 15:25 ): Supplementary: minister, I was focusing on what your own department was doing to prevent women entering the corrections system, rather than those who are already in the corrections system as being rehabilitated. Would you advise the chamber what your department is doing as preventative measures?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) ( 15:25 ): I thank the honourable member for his question. I can answer that the department of Aboriginal affairs provides policy advice right across government on a range of issues that seek to improve the quality of life of Aboriginal people in a whole range of areas, including health, education and the interaction with the justice system.

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