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Sobering Thoughts: Public Drunkenness Reform in Victoria


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This event is now fully booked. We have reserved spaces for any First Nations people who missed out on a booking – please email or call 03 9094 7800 to request one.

Almost 30 years ago, the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody recommended the abolition of public drunkenness as an offence. A subsequent inquiry in Victoria in 2001 also recommended decriminalisation. So, why have successive governments failed to act?

The Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service estimates about a quarter of the people arrested for public drunkenness each day are Aboriginal, even though just 0.8 per cent of Victoria’s population is Indigenous.

Following the death in police custody of Yorta Yorta woman Tanya Day in April 2017, there’s been a renewed and energetic campaign for decriminalisation led by her family. In this conversation, our panellists will discuss the reasons for the disastrous long-standing impasse on the issue and share their thoughts on the momentum behind the new push for reform.

Presented in partnership with Liberty Victoria.


Nayuka Gorrie

Nayuka Gorrie is a Gunnai/Kurnai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta essayist and screenwriter.

Eddie Cubillo

Eddie Cubillo is an Aboriginal man with strong family links throughout the Northern Territory. His mother is of Larrakia/Wadjigan descent, and his father is Central Arrente. Eddie’s family has experienced the intergenerational effects of the policy of forced removal of children of mixed descent fr... Read more

Shahleena Musk

Shahleena Musk joined the Human Rights Law Centre team in February 2017, working in the Indigenous Rights Unit. She is an Aboriginal lawyer descended from the Larrakia people of Darwin. She was the first Aboriginal person to graduate from the then Northern Territory University (now Charles Darwin Un... Read more

Apryl Day

Apryl Day is a proud Yorta Yorta, Wemba Wemba and Barapa Barapa woman. She is a community organiser and campaigner, and a member of both WAR VIC and Pay the Rent. She is the daughter of Tanya Day – a proud Yorta Yorta woman who died in custody in 2017. Apryl and her family successfully led the cam... Read more


The Wheeler Centre

176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.