MELBOURNE— Forty people attended a meeting organised by the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA) on August 12 to discuss Indigenous deaths in custody. In particular, the meeting discussed the case of Aboriginal elder Mr Ward, who died of heat stress in the back of a prisoner transport vehicle in Western Australia.
Davie Thomason, a union activist related to Ward, spoke of the support the family had received from the union movement.
ISJA's Alison Thorne called on the audience to "get out on the streets and build a mass movement", demanding criminal charges be brought against those responsible for Ward's death, an end to the privatisation of prisons and prisoner transport, and the maximum possible use of alternatives to imprisonment and long distance prisoner transport.
Chandra Dev Singh, a campaigner for the recommendations from the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody report to be implemented, also spoke.