QUT Centre for Justice is committed to fostering reconciliation between non-Indigenous Australians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
One of the three key themes of QUT Centre for Justice is Access to Justice. The United Nations has identified this as a priority sustainable development goal where discrimination, inequality, marginalisation and exclusion are obstacles to social justice. Justice should be available and meaningful to all people, regardless of who they are, their legal, political, economic or other circumstances, and where they are situated, in Australia or elsewhere in the world. First Nations People and other Indigenous Peoples form part of this theme and our research in this program aims to improve access to, and the experience of, justice.
Some of our research can be seen in QUT Centre for Justice Indigenous Briefing Paper Series, released as part of the 50th Anniversary of Aboriginal Tent Embassy in January 2022.
- Annabelle Craft, Sjaana Steffens and John Scott, in their paper titled, “Justice Reinvestment in the Northern Peninsula Area: The NPA Licence and ID Muster Initiatives” look at the distinct features of justice reinvestment as applied in a discrete Indigenous community, the Northern Peninsula Area (NPA). Over half of Indigenous inmates in North Queensland correctional facilities are imprisoned for licence-related offences. Licensing musters in the NPA have, in a short period of time, assisted over 29.4% of the licensable population with licensing- and identity-related issues. This important cross-agency and community-driven work has implications beyond criminal justice, also addressing disadvantage associated with education and employment.
- Belinda Carpenter, Steph Jowett and Gordon Tait investigate the over-representation of Indigenous people in suicide statistics internationally as indicative of the impact of the broader context of colonialism. Their paper, titled “Indigenous suicide rates and the colonial logic of legal decision making” argues that the recommendations aimed at Indigenous people in coronial suicide inquests perpetuate a focus on Aboriginal people as the problem to be solved, as opposed to the impact of colonial relations. They suggest that such insights are as relevant to criminal justice jurisdictions, as they are to coronial or medico-legal ones.
- As part of their research funded by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education, Deanna Grant-Smith and Bernd Irmer consider how Australian universities are performing against parity targets for the participation of Indigenous students in higher education. Their paper, “Widening the participation of Indigenous students in Australian Higher Education” finds that despite over three decades of the widening participation agenda, significant work remains to reach targets for enrolments and completions in undergraduate, postgraduate coursework, and postgraduate research.
Dr Gina Masterton
In 2021 Dr Gina Masterton was appointed to QUT Centre for Justice and the Carumba Institute as an Indigenous Australian Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Gina plays a leading role in implementing QUT’s cross-faculty Indigenous Research Capability Building strategy.
Read more about Gina here.
From left: QUT researchers – Associate Professor Kate Murray, Professor Danielle Gallegos, Associate Professor Debbie Duthie and Dr Lee Wharton
QUT Centre for Justice member, Associate Professor Deb Duthie was recently awarded an ARC Discovery Indigenous grant to work with a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from QUT, University of Southern Cross and Diabetes Australia to co-design a food sovereignty model with Indigenous communities.
“Food sovereignty is a core human right that privileges Indigenous knowledges and methodologies to co-design local strategies for addressing food insecurity. We aim to develop place-based food sovereignty models with both rural and urban Indigenous communities to build sustainable food systems. This project’s outcomes will ultimately lead to tailored strategies to foster food sovereignty and develop resources to preserve language and cultural foodways that can be integrated into educational programs.” (Associate Professor Deb Duthie)
Read more about the project here.
Associate Professor Chris Emzin
Finally, QUT C4J is proud to include Associate Professor Chris Emzin (LLB, QUT/LLM, Griffith) among its membership. Chris is also Director, Indigenous Engagement within the School of Justice here at QUT. He is of Aboriginal and South Sea Islander man. Chris holds a Masters and a Bachelors Degree of Laws and has been admitted to practice law as a ‘Barrister-At-Law’. He was also an Inspector of Police with over 35 years policing experience as a criminal investigator, prosecutor and legal advisor for the Queensland Police Service. He has held a range of operational, policy and senior management positions within the QPS including Acting Superintendent for Prosecutions Services. Chris is currently undertaking a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) at QUT with the thesis title “Indigenous People in Policing Roles: A Critical Analysis of Queensland Police Service Policy”. In his role as QUT Senior Lecturer, Chris was Chair for the Embedding Indigenous Knowledges into Justice Curriculum Committee and also lead for the Indigenous Perspectives Working Party during the Bachelor of Justice Re-accreditation process. The successful re-accreditation of the Bachelor of Justice involved the incorporation of a new Course Learning Outcome 6 – Indigenous Perspectives (Develop skills and knowledge to work with Indigenous communities and people as a Justice professional). In his role as Director, Indigenous Engagement he engages with industry partners including ATSILS (Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Legal Services) and is also member of Indigenous Committee for the Queensland Bar Association. Chris is the QUT School of Justice coordinator for the Cherbourg-QUT Project whereby transdisciplinary student teams collaborate with industry partners on Aboriginal Community-initiated projects using a participatory action research framework.
Read more about Chris here.
Read more about QUT’s commitment to reconciliation here.