Media Releases

Media Statement by Liberals/Nationals Coalition

Media statement by Liberal/National Coalition Monday 7 March  2011


NSW Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell and  Shadow Attorney General Greg Smith SC today announced a comprehensive plan to  crackdown on re-offending rates in NSW, including the establishment of a  second Drug Court in Sydney.

Mr O'Farrell explained the  NSW Liberals & Nationals ambitious plan has the goal of reducing the  re-offending rate to below the national average within ten  years. 

The people of NSW are fed up with a corrective  services system which merely acts as a revolving door for offenders as  they transition through a life of crime, Mr OFarrell  said.

The NSW Liberals & Nationals are determined  to treat crime at its source and this is why we have a comprehensive plan with  the goal of reducing the rate of re-offending to below the national average  within ten years," he said.

"NSW has the worst recidivism  rate of any Australian State with more than 40 per cent of prisoners returning  to gaol within two years."

A NSW Liberals & Nationals  Government will:

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Liberals/Nationals proposal on prisoner recidivism

Community Justice Coalition

Media Release Thursday, March 10, 2011

“Dealing with the causes of crime, as proposed by the NSW Liberals and Nationals, through drug rehabilitation and education programs such as putting computers in prison cells is a welcome change. That will reduce the strain on our prison system and the taxpayer, since every prisoner who returns to prison diverts resourcesfrom health, education and infrastructure”, says CJC President, Davit Bitel.

“These proposals to reduce re-offending are in line with earlier commitments made at the CJC Justice Forum. Reducing recidivism will reduce the number of victims – not just statistics but the real damage caused by failed justice policies,” says CJC Vice President, Hon John Dowd, AO, QC.

“NSW has the worst recidivism rate of any Australian State, with more than 40 percent of prisoners returning to gaol within two years – a rate 5 percent above the national average. The CJC wants and expects urgent action on this issue in order to make our communities safer” said David Bitel.

According to NSW Shadow Attorney-General, Greg Smith; “the NSW Liberals & Nationals are determined to reduce crime and make our homes and neighbourhoods safer”, through a second Drug Court and $20 million of funding over four years for education and training programs in prisons. See Media statement below from the
Liberal/National Coalition.

David Bitel, on 0409 717571 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Chris Puplick on 0403 223 094
John Dowd on 8249 3221
Joan Bielski 9437 6916
or 9283 0123 ext 12

The Community Justice Coalition comprises organisations including the Aboriginal Legal Service, Unions NSW, the International Commission of Jurists, NCOSS, NSW Aboriginal Land Council, NSW Teachers Federation and NSW Council for Civil Liberties.

Community Justice Coalition
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
P.O. Box 345, Broadway, NSW 2007 Australia


Read the media statement from the liberals/nationals here

Voters in prisons and hospitals refused information

Media release March 21, 2011


“Lawyers booked to visit the Forensic Hospital on Sunday were refused access by the Clinical Director Dr Adrian Keller.  A legal team assembled by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre, led by the former Commonwealth Solicitor General David Bennett AC QC was ready to challenge the Election newspaper ban in the Supreme Court today. This is exactly the attitude we are confronting” said JA Coordinator Brett Collins.

“Corrective Services and Justice Health have refused prisoners and patients in health institutions access to a newspaper carrying issues that affect them. The paper carries statements from political parties to voters in institutions, and an analysis of issues from the Community Justice Coalition pre-election Justice Forum” said Mr Collins.

Justice Health Executive Officer Julie Babineau said by email 17/3:

‘The document contains language and content that is political in nature and as such would not be deemed suitable for distribution within any NSW health facilities.  Any distribution of such material by Justice Health could be viewed as being endorsed by Justice Health.’

“Corrective Services said it has ‘adequate sources of information’ and ‘ensures each (voter) has the information on political parties’, however prisoners tell us they have received nothing” said Mr Collins.

“The ability to access information of a political nature is an essential element in the democratic process. It is a contradiction that these citizens have the right to vote, while their ability to receive a range of political ideas and opinions is curtailed” said Mr Collins.

“HREOC concluded in 2006 that to ban access to such publications is a breach of the human rights of prisonersand contrary to the ICCPR. Previous editions of the Election Newspaper have been twice to the Supreme Court. The lack of respect by these bureaucrats for citizens political rights is really outrageous” said Mr Collins.

“Australia’s leading constitutional lawyers say that this matter of informing voters in institutions is an ‘important fight’, and we intend to take it on again” said Mr Collins.  

Newspaper JUST US Election Special Vol 4/1 is attached.

Comments: Brett Collins 0438 705003

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PO Box 386, Broadway NSW 2007 Australia
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O'Farrell Government Squibs Prison Challenge

Media release: April 7, 2011

“O’Farrell’s new Attorney General Greg Smith who talked tough on changing the penal culture and recidivism, has collapsed at the first hurdle – dismissing the head of his new Department” said Justice Action Coordinator Brett Collins.  

“Greg Smith promised in 2009 that he would remove former prison officer Commissioner Woodham but now passively says: ‘I may have wondered out aloud whether he would fit in with the changes I would like to see’. That is the statement of a weak ineffectual Minister capable only of threatening children with prison for graffiti, as he did on the same day” said Mr Collins.

“Woodham is both a symbol and a cause of everything that is wrong with the hopeless and destructive prisons system. His failures include the:

  • Rise in recidivism and empire building during his term as Commissioner for Corrective Services
  • Deplorable prison security admitted by Woodham in an ICAC investigation last year
  • Failure to control his staff and calling on multinational private companies to help him – against total public opposition
  • Repeated allegations of corruption and thuggery going back to the 1970’s – Bob Carr said he should be stood down in 1993”

“The election policies of Smith and the Liberal/National Coalition focussed on rehabilitation and addressing the causes of crime as well as reserving jail for violent offenders. If Smith was honest in his stated intention he needs new people with resolve and new sharp tools to drive change. He must discard deadwood whilst he has the opportunity and expectation. We demand that our tax money of $75,000 a prisoner a year improves community safety rather than causes more crime” said Mr Collins.

For comment:  Brett Collins 0438 705003

Trades Hall, Suite 204, 4 Goulburn St, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia
PO Box 386, Broadway NSW 2007 Australia
T 612 9283 0123  | F 612 9283 0112
E This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Life sentence

The Persecution of the Diagnosed

This is Aboriginal Land. This is Aboriginal Land. Indigenous Cultural Respect, Land Rights & Peace.
*Warning: Medical terms may cause offence! We’re not dissing you. Just talking about the situation.

“Whenever I go to jail, I get put in a strip cell in underwear and injected with Largactil” Ex-prisoner with historical diagnosis of schizophrenia. (Largactil is an old-style heavy-duty anti-psychotic with drastic physical and mental effects, also known as “chemical straitjacket”)

On the “outside” is a social justice emergency damning people with psychiatric, intellectual, neurological and developmental diagnoses and difficulties (PIND D&D) to poverty, homelessness, the removal of rights, institutional abuse and being capsicum sprayed by the police.

Like other oppressed groups, our life is criminalised by the injustice of law.

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Mental Heath Fact Sheet

Beyond Bars

There are many people in prison in NSW who have some form of mental illness.  This fact sheet examines why people with a mental illness are sent to prison and the problems that arise from the incarceration of those who are have mental health issues.

What is a Mental Illness?
The term ‘mental illness’ is very broad.  It covers a diverse range of health conditions relating to somebody’s psychological state.  Depression and schizophrenia are some of the better known examples of mental illness.  It is useful to note that the definition of mental illness is fluid.  It has changed frequently over time and is influenced by various social and cultural trends.  Some behaviours that would have been diagnosed as mental illness a decade ago would not necessarily be diagnosed in the same way today.

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APEC Prisoner Declaration

September 8, 2007.
JUSTICE ACTION representing convicts in the host Penal Colony of Australia, having regained their right to political expression returning the prisoner vote in the High Court of Australia, now exercise that right of political expression.

“Torture is the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) nations' norm” said Justice Action spokesperson Brett Collins today. We prisoners of the APEC nations condemn those governments for...

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JA mental illness policy

Justice Action believes that there are serious failings in the way public policy addresses mental illness in our society

We believe the single greatest cause of distress and difficulty; to the greatest proportion of those living with mental illness, is the way our society responds to them.

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Press Release - Bring David Home!

Press release***Press release***Press release

Friday 19 January 2007

Supporters and campaigners for the repatriation of David Hicks demand that the Australian Parliament seeks David‚s immediate release and repatriation, and to reject the kangaroo court set up by the Pentagon which could see another 2-3 years of challenges in US courts.

Bring David Home campaigners are calling for a Canberra Convergence on the opening of Parliament on Tuesday 6 February at 11am on parliament lawns.

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