Fix Victoria’s bail laws now!

On June 2, 2022, the Indigenous Social Justice Association – Melbourne launched the No Crime, No Time – Fix Victoria’s Bail Laws Now country.

The campaign calls on the Victorian government to:
• release unconvicted remand prisoners from Victorian jails;
• remove the reverse onus provisions from the Bail Act;
create a presumption in favor of bail by placing the onus on the Crown to show why bail should not be granted.

Sign and share the petition now:

The Freedom Socialist Party supports this campaign initiated by the 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 of the Socialist Freedom and Radical Women’s Party. That’s what she said.

“I speak on behalf of the Socialist Freedom Party and radical women. Both are socialist feminist organizations that have been actively involved in the struggle for First Nations justice for decades. FSP helped found ISJA – Melbourne almost 20 years ago. In the mid-1990s, RW organized a fact-finding tour of Victoria for the then NSW Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Watch Committee – which found that Victoria’s case was not squeaky clean, as the statistics claimed official. We are proud to support the No crime, no time country.

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

Add to that racism, and Indigenous women are far ahead — their incarceration has increased by 240% over the past five years. Antoinette Braybrook, a Kuku Yalanji woman from Djirra, says: “A single day in prison can destroy a woman’s life. She can lose her children, her home, her job, her hope. She can also lose her life, as the terrible deaths of Mrs. Nelson-Walker, Mrs. Calgaret, Tanya Day and so many other women tell us. The fact that 80% of First Nations women behind bars are mothers shows that these bail laws are not only barbaric, they are genocidal.

Since the profit system is global, so is this horror. This is the experience of First Peoples around the world, from North America to Palestine, Kurdistan, China and beyond. We also saw a routine cop kill in Minneapolis – of George Floyd two years ago – spark a massive movement across the United States, demanding Black Lives Matter.

FSP and RW believe in the power of the united, multiracial and working-class front. As the term suggests, a united front brings together a wide range of organizations and individuals to work democratically around an agreed set of principles and achieve a common goal. One example is New York’s grassroots campaign to establish a body of elected community officials with the power to fire cops who abuse their power. Initiated by the FSP, this campaign succeeded in getting the Community POWER Act passed in front of the town hall.

We are thrilled to be part of the campaign ISJA is launching tonight, as we are part of the Yuendumu community’s call to bring the police under community control.

Nothing less than a complete revolution can decimate the foundations of profit and its prison system. But for now, we look forward to working with a wide variety of organizations to review Victoria’s bail laws. It’s campaigns like No Crime, No Time, and those in the Yuendumu and New York communities that have the potential to shift the foundations, bringing us closer to where we ultimately need to go.

For more information on why Victoria’s bail laws urgently need to be changed, see:

What’s new? Crime is down but imprisonment is skyrocketing!
Time to fight back: Victoria’s bail scheme is creating a sexist and racist disaster

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