19th October 2023 09:47
Victorian Legislative Council, Melbourne
Rachel PAYNE (South-Eastern Metropolitan) (09:47): Last month I attended the Dame Phyllis Frost Centre for the Somebody’s Daughter Theatre’s production titled The Sky Chose Me. Somebody’s Daughter has been working with women in Victorian prisons since 1980. They are the only company in Australia undertaking this kind of work within the women’s prison system. They work with the most vulnerable, the most disregarded and the most powerless in society to give them a voice. Telling your story through art, through movement and through performance is cathartic, and it was immense to watch these women explore their experiences of trauma, abuse, isolation and interactions with the criminal justice system through this medium. I will not forget that performance, and I will not forget those women and their stories.
It made me reflect on why I am here, and it is to see the end of the prohibition of cannabis. Twenty-two per cent of women in Victorian prisons had drug offences as their most serious charge or offence – notably more than their male counterparts. The evening commenced with an art exhibition. I was rather taken aback by this artwork titled Waiting, where it depicted a large door with a key and a lock. The artist wrote that she had been waiting for her trial date – waiting for 4½ years, and I dare say she continues to wait for that date.\