Earlier today, I made a contribution in support of the Summary Offences Amendment (Decriminalisation of Public Drunkenness) Bill 2020.
The debate today has been an emotional reality check, providing an insight in what it is to live as an indigenous person in modern day Australia. Too many of our indigenous brothers and sisters have been incarcerated for public drunkenness and often with dire consequences.
It has been a long time coming and 30 years ago now, since the landmark Royal Commission into Black Deaths in Custody back in 1991, when it recommended all those years ago to decriminalise public drunkenness. It took the tragic death of Aunty Tanya Day, a Proud Yorta Yorta woman to die of head injuries sustained in police custody for the need to resolve this issue to crystallise in the most tragic of circumstances.
Instead, what this Bill will do, once it is passed into law, will see a police response be replaced with a public health response where treatment, care and support will be offered to people who are struggling with alcohol addiction.
This bill has passed into law.
Today is a good day.