Royal Commission into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicides
This petition had 23,975 supporters
Children as young as 8, 9, 10 and 11 years of age are suiciding. The extensiveness of the crisis has reached staggering levels - with new stats showing WA suicide rates are some of the worst in the world.
Kimberley mother Lena Andrews lost her daughter, Phillinka, 18 years young, in 2014 and Lena asked that her daughter be remembered in this petition. “There was nobody there for us. We are living in neglect, in racism, forgotten by everyone. Please allow our stories to be told at a royal commission.”
“Too many are dying too young.”
This year’s three National Indigenous Human Rights Awards recipients are calling for a Royal Commission – Dameyon Bonson, recipient of the Dr Yunupingu Human Rights Award – Mervyn Eades, recipient of the Eddie Mabo Social Justice Award – Lex Wotton, recipient of the Anthony Mundine Courage Award.
Calling for the royal commission are incumbent NAIDOC Lifetime Achievement recipient, Tauto Sansbury, incumbent NAIDOC Female Elder of the Year, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks (finalist in last year’s Australian of the Year Awards), Leonora Elder, Kado Muir, Kamilaraoy language speaker and academic, Marcus Woolombi Waters.
Suicide prevention researcher, Gerry Georgatos states, “A royal commission into the suicides is the only way forward, the only shot we have left.”
“I have travelled to hundreds of homeland communities and the people who are losing their loved ones are crying out to be heard, they are screaming. It is a myth and a dangerous perception that there is a silence, shame, taboo – it’s the listening that is not happening. This humanitarian crisis needs to translate to a national priority.”
“In one community, in the week to Christmas, three young people were buried in three days – their graves alongside each other.”
Officially, more than 5 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander deaths are suicides – this is staggering. Gerry Georgatos estimates that it is even higher – around 10 per cent.
More research and reports are coming in thick and fast validating the extensiveness and the multifactorial issues of the extensiveness of the suicides and that it is going to get worse unless our nation is ready to exact a difference.
The Kimberley’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are suiciding at 8 times the national rate.
From the Yorke Peninsula, Tauto Sansbury, “A royal commission into the ever increasing and catastrophic level of Aboriginal suicide could mark the turning point in addressing this national humanitarian crisis.”
Living in central Australia, Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, “A royal commission must be held immediately. Tomorrow is too late. Our people are suffering at unprecedented levels.”
In heart of Western Australia lives Kado Muir, “We need help to talk about the full story of pain and anguish, help to structure and support our ways of healing. We need a chance to stop this pandemic illness threatening the future for the Aboriginal nations of Australia. We are currently on a road to nowhere.”
Kimberley living Black Rainbow founder, Dameyon Bonson, “The ongoing systemic failure of outsider service delivery into Indigenous health and wellbeing has had a devastating effect.”
From Brisbane, Marcus Woolombi Waters, “Yammaa ngiyani… do not underestimate the changes that do come with a royal commission. We hear that royal commissions fail to implement recommendations but we can never deny the significant cultural shifts from such national dialogue.”
Listen to this 13 minute radio interview with Gerry Georgatos explaining the need for a royal commission - Explaining the call for a royal commission - 13 minutes - RTRFM
Parliamentary Inquiry hears calls for royal commission - ABC PM
National inquiry or royal commission into suicide crises long overdue - SBS/NITV
Image caption: Phillinka Powdrill - her image at her mother's request.
If you require support or information about suicide prevention, you can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.
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