17 June 2020

In recent weeks, we've seen hundreds of thousands of Australians take to the streets to march and to call on the reduction that's necessary for black deaths in custody, and certainly the high incarceration rates of First Nations people. As a 19-20 year old Mr Acting Deputy President, I covered the Royal Commission into black deaths in custody as a journalist for the ABC, in particular in Darwin, and also, when Elliott Johnson, brought down the recommendations. And then we could talk about the names of people who died the 99 deaths. And, at the time, my colleague Senator Pat Dodson was one of the Royal Commissioners so this has been an incredible journey. And yet when we look at the deaths of over 437, 438, possibly 439, Aboriginal people and deaths since then, we don't really know all of their names.

So what Ive been able to have a look at. And I looked through the Australian Institute of Criminology, saw the statistics. And it was really Guardian Australias details, the newspaper, Guardian Australias Deaths Inside project that documented the names. They collected and analysed all coronial data and other sources to build a searchable database of First Nations deaths in custody since 2008. So we certainly dont know the names of those who died between 1991 when the findings of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody were handed down to 2008.

As I said, the Australian Institute of Criminology has the statistics but we dont know those names or the circumstances surrounding their deaths. They are just numbers.

Id like to take the time that I have now to mention as many names as I can and pay our respects to those families who are still seeking justice for their loved ones and wanting to know what has happened.

So I start with 29 March, 2020. An unknown Male, 30, arrested and taken to Horsham police station where his "condition deteriorated". He was transported to hospital by ambulance where he later died.

21 March, this year. TC Female, 40. Found dead in her single cell at Brisbane Women's Correctional Centre

2 January, this year. Ms Walker, 37. Arrested for shoplifting on 31 December, 2019, and denied bail. She was remanded at the maximum security women's prison, the Dame Phyllis Front Centre, and found dead three days later.

9 November, 2019. Mr Walker, 19. Died after he was shot at Yuendumu when two police officers went to his house to arrest him for breaches of his suspended sentence.

6 November, 2019. Unknown Male, 20, fell 10m to his death while being escorted from Gosford hospital to Kariong Correctional Centre.

30 October, 2019. RN Male, 39. Died in Royal Perth hospital three days after being sedated by paramedics at the direction of police

17 September, 2019. Ms Clarke, 37. Shot dead by a police officer outside her house in Geraldton in Western Australia.

12 June, 2019. JB, Male, 30. Found unresponsive in his cell in Acacia prison and attempts to revive him were unsuccessful. Authorities warned he was suicidal.

9 April, 2019. Cherdeena Wynne, 26. Died in hospital five days after she became unresponsive after being handcuffed by police on a side street off Albany Highway.

14 March, 2019. T Walton, 21. Shot multiple times by police who were seeking to question him

11 February, 2019. A Eades, 46. Allegedly attacked by other prisoners and found critically injured in his prison cell on 26 February 2019. He died in hospital 13 days later. His injuries included a broken neck, severe brain swelling, and facial fractures and lacerations.

11 September, 2018. CD, Male, 16. Drowned in the Swan River in Perth while trying to escape an on-foot chase by police.

10 September, 2018. TS, Male, 17. Drowned alongside his best mate CD, while fleeing police, who were chasing him and four other boys them on foot following reports of teenagers jumping fences. He and three other teenagers entered the river to escape, but only two made it out.

1 September, 2018. Nathan Reynolds, 36. Died in custody in the Outer Metropolitan Multi-Purpose Correctional Centre, a minimum security prison in South Windsor, allegedly following a severe asthma attack.

29 June, 2018. DK, Male, 34. During arrest DK stopped breathing while being "removed" from a house in Perth by police.

3 May, 2018. Mr Yeeda, 19. Mr Yeeda collapsed at West Kimberley regional prison in Western Australia and was declared dead less than an hour later at Derby hospital.

10 February, 2018. TK, Male, 39. Became unresponsive after police attended his Townsville home and he was forcibly restrained.

7 February, 2018. Patrick Fisher, 31. Fell from a 13th-floor balcony in the Waterloo public housing block in Sydney in February 2018 while allegedly trying to climb down to escape from the police

3 February, 2018. JH, Male, 23. Found hanged in his cell at the Junee Correctional Centre in NSW two days before he was due to face court.

22 December, 2017. Ms Day, 55. Died 17 days after falling in the cells of Castlemaine police station after being arrested for public drunkenness.

4 December, 2017. TMH, Male, 47. Had a heart attack while being loaded into an ambulance and later died in Boulder WA.

22 September, 2017. Tane Richard Chatfield, 22. Found unresponsive in his cell after being separated from his cellmate and receiving medical treatment for a seizure.

22 August, 2017. KG, Male, 47. Discovered unresponsive in an observation cell at the Adelaide city watch house.

8 August, 2017. JT, Male, 39. Complained of chest pain the day before his death but prison staff in the Northern Territory mistakenly believed he was complaining of a sore throat

4 July, 2017. EJW, Male, 35. Died in hospital after suffering a brain haemorrhage in prison and was shackled to the bed in the last days of his life despite being unconscious and unresponsive.

25 June, 2017. R Thomas, 29. Thrown from his car after an accident being pursued by a highway patrol car.

26 May, 2017. PR, Male, 50. Became unresponsive after being arrested, handcuffed and placed in a prone restraint position by South Australian police outside his house in Parafield Gardens. An ambulance was called, but he was unable to be revived.

12 May, 2017. C Riley, Male, 40. Died after being shot by police with a stun gun in an Officeworks car park in East Perth.

29 March, 2017. TAS, Male, 35. Critically injured when the car he was driving flipped less than a minute after police began a pursuit in Bathurst. He died in hospital a short time later.

1 March, 2017. J Anderson, 23. Died in Fiona Stanley Hospital after being found hanged in a "safe" cell at Hakea prison.

4 January, 2017. RPN, Male, 62. Died at Alice Springs hospital of renal and liver failure while serving a mandatory life sentence.

These are the people that hundreds of thousands of Australians walked the streets for. This week, last week and will no doubt continue to do so. We dontknow some of the others; a lot of the other names. But we certainly pay our respects to those families still seeking justice, equality and fairness in our country. And we must never stop the pursuit of justice, equality and fairness for all Australians especially First Nations people.