Jobs Events Advertise Newsletter

Fella's Bill passes SA Parliament

Rachael Knowles -

South Australia has made history becoming the first state or territory in the nation to permanently ban the use of spit hoods.

On Wednesday, SA Parliament united to pass Fella's Bill, otherwise known as the Statues Amendment (Spit Hood Prohibition) Bill through the Upper House.

The legislation sees the ban of spit hoods in all settings, including police and prison custody, mental health facilities and immigration detention centres.

The fight for the devices to be banned was led by the family of Wayne Fella Morrison, who died in custody in 2016.

The 29-year-old Wiradjuri, Wirangu and Kokatha man died in custody at Royal Adelaide Hospital.

Whilst on remand at Adelaide's Yatala Labour Prison, Morrison was restrained in flexi-cuffs and a spit hood. He was placed in a prison van for transportation with seven officers.

Morrison was pulled from the van unresponsive and died three days later. There is no CCTV footage from inside the vehicle.

Wayne Fella Morrison. Photo supplied and approved for use by the family.

Fella's Bill was passed five-years after his passing and so recognises half a decade of fierce advocacy by his family â€" including his mother Aunty Caroline Andersen, and sibling Latoya Aroha Rule.

"Our hard work has finally come to fruition today with the banning of spit hoods, and at least I know no one else is going to suffer from wearing this inhumane torture device like Wayne did," said Aunty Caroline.

She calls for other states and territories to adopt a legislative ban.

"Those officers will never be able to forget my son, Wayne Fella Morrison," she said.

"The last time I heard Wayne's voice was a week before his image became synonymous with these barbaric devices."

"I welcome this step toward accountability, but it isn't the end for us. I call for a Royal Commission into my son's death, and a national ban on spit hoods, so that no other parent has to suffer this grief."

Rule joined their mother in celebrating the passing of Fella's Bill however, acknowledged the fight that continued.

"I am left feeling numb because Wayne isn't here anymore, but I am also left feeling hopeful that today my Mum, my siblings, my nieces and nephews and all my family can be proud of our fight," they said.

"Today's legislated ban on spit hoods should call forth questions of accountability, and we call for a Royal Commission into my brother's death.

"I hope that the Corrections officers involved in putting a spit hood over Wayne's face have considered their actions and will apologise, and that his death has contributed to the global movement against spit hoods."

Rule notes the "ample opportunities" for a legislative ban on spit hoods that have been present in the last 15-years.

"We all watched as these were used on young people in South Australia, at Don Dale in the Northern Territory and other states. Justice delayed is justice denied."

"I hope the ban gives other families some sense of reassurance, but Australia continues to breach anti-torture conventions and children's rights, and continues to murder Aboriginal people."

Victorian Greens Senator Lidia Thorpe stood in solidarity with the family in advocating for the legislation to be passed.

"Fella's Bill shows how strong First Nations people are, because we fight for justice while holding the pain of injustice, in institutions that were never designed to protect us," she said.

"I'd like to see the ban expanded nationally, there's no good reason why it shouldn't be."

By Rachael Knowles


Torres Strait Regional Authority congratulates local councils on recent elections
The Torres Strait Regional Authority has commended the recently elected councils...
Joseph Guenzler 17 Apr 2024
Indigenous nursing students thriving at TAFE NSW
Flexible learning and practical training are being offered for nursing students...
Dechlan Brennan 17 Apr 2024
Wugularr School honours AFLW player Ashanti Bush with name of new merit award
Gold Coast Suns AFLW player Ashanti Bush has been recognised by a school in remo...
Jackson Clark 17 Apr 2024
Roundtable could be key step towards boom for Indigenous agricultural products
A series of roundtables to define Indigenous agricultural products are set to be...
Callan Morse 17 Apr 2024

   Rachael Knowles   

Stephen Dawson booted from Western Australian Aboriginal Affairs portfolio
Questions have arisen about Western Australia’s Aboriginal Affairs Department af...
Rachael Knowles 21 Dec 2021
Inquest into Victorian death in custody of Aboriginal woman begins
Please note: This story contains reference to and an image of someone who has di...
Rachael Knowles 17 Dec 2021
Gamilaraay star hits new heights as Toyota Star Maker Grand Finalist
Country music star and Gamilaraay woman Loren Ryan has a grand finalist in the 2...
Rachael Knowles 22 Dec 2021
WA Government cops backlash after passing of Cultural Heritage Bill
Criticism has continued for the Western Australian Government after the Cultural...
Rachael Knowles 16 Dec 2021