Fix Victoria’s bail laws now!

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On 2 June 2022, the Indigenous Social Justice Association – Melbourne launched the No Crime, No Time — Fix Victoria’s bail laws now campaign.

The campaign is calling on the Victorian government to:
• get unsentenced people who are on remand out of Victorian prisons;
• remove the reverse-onus provisions in the Bail Act;
create a presumption in favour of bail placing the onus on the prosecution to demonstrate why bail should not be granted.

Sign and share the petition now:

Freedom Socialist Party supports this campaign initiated by Indigenous Social Justice Association – Melbourne. The campaign is also supported by Casual, Unemployed and Precarious University Workers, Fight Together For Justice, Flat Out, Humanism Project, Multicultural Greens, Progressive Law Network, Radical Women, Tamil Refugee Council and The Police Accountability Project.

Debbie Brennan spoke at the launch for the Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women. This is what she said.

“I’m speaking for the Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women. Both are socialist feminist organisations that, for decades, have been actively involved in the struggle for First Nations justice. FSP helped found ISJA – Melbourne almost 20 years ago. In the mid 1990s RW organised an investigative tour of Victoria for the then NSW Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Watch Committee — which found that Victoria’s record wasn’t squeaky clean, as official statistics had claimed. We’re proud to support the No Crime, No Time campaign.

It’s absolutely time to expose Victoria’s bail laws for what they are: a very profitable pipeline to prison. Poverty sends people to prison, and sexism puts women at the front of the line. The Dame Phyllis Frost Centre, for example, has grown by 270% in the past 20 years. A major factor behind this shocking rise is the bail system.

Add racism, and Aboriginal women are way in front — their imprisonment has gone up 240% in the last five years. Antoinette Braybrook, a Kuku Yalanji woman from from Djirra, says “Just one day in prison can destroy a woman’s life. She can lose her kids, her home, her job, her hope.” She can also lose her life, as the terrible deaths of Ms Nelson-Walker, Ms Calgaret, Tanya Day and so many more women tell us. That 80% of the First Nations women behind bars are mothers show that these bail laws are not only barbaric, they’re genocidal.

Since the profit system is global, so is this horror. It’s the experience of First Peoples across the world, from North America to Palestine, Kurdistan, China and beyond. We also watched a routine cop killing in Minneapolis — of George Floyd two years ago — ignite a massive movement across the United States, demanding that Black Lives Matter.

FSP and RW believe in the power of the united front, one that’s multiracial and working class. As the term implies, a united front brings together a rich array of organisations and individuals to work democratically around an agreed set of principles and achieve a common goal. An example is New York City’s grassroots campaign to establish a body of people elected from the community with the authority to fire cops who abuse their power. Initiated by FSP, this campaign has succeeded in getting the Community POWER Act before City Hall.

We are excited to be part of the campaign that ISJA is launching tonight, just as we are by the call of the Yuendumu community to bring police under community control.

Nothing short of a full revolution can decimate the foundations of profit and its carceral system. But for now, we are looking forward to collaborating with a wide diversity of organisations to overhaul Victoria’s bail laws. It’s campaigns like No Crime, No Time and those of the Yuendumu and New York City communities that have the potential to rock the foundations, taking us closer to where we ultimately need to go.”

For more information about why Victoria’s bail laws need urgent change see:

What’s up? Crime is down but imprisonment soars!
Time for a fightback: Victoria’s bail regime creates a sexist and racist catastrophe