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Indigenous Elders have taken on a role in the Murri courts that continues to close the gap between Indigenous traditions and western laws.
Founded in Queensland in 2006, the Murri courts were established in response to the increasing representation of Indigenous people in prison. Murri courts use Aboriginal customs to support and rehabilitate offenders, and allow Elders to continue to help Indigenous individuals who have broken the law. Elders, who are from Aboriginal, Torres Strait and Papua New Guinea backgrounds, and are respected persons by reputation, volunteer their time in the justice system.
Coordinator of the Townsville Community Justice Group, Robert McMahon, said the Elders' input into the Murri courts is invaluable.
'Their [Elders'] history and interactions in the community give them a unique perspective. This is part of their strength,' Mr McMahon said. 'They have their traditions, culture and customs.'
Indigenous Elders are part of three systems in Queensland - the Murri courts, the Queensland Indigenous alcohol diversion program and the Children's court.
Source: James Cook University
Editor - JCNN
Department of Justice and Attorney-General
Brisbane Magistrates Courts
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