Just Us is a newspaper for people in the prison and mental health systems in Australia and New Zealand to help them make informed decisions in state and federal elections. The 8th edition of Just Us has been launched and is currently being circulated across Australia. Just Us is the only newspaper in Australia that is distributed to prisons and locked hospitals, as well as to judges, magistrates and Members of Parliament in every jurisdiction in Australia. The history is one of successful struggle to retain political and community rights for the most excluded. It is an exercise in social inclusion, ensuring that everyone feels involved in the creation of public policy and the law.
Many prisoners are enrolled and eligible to vote. They should have the right to fully participate in the electoral process and be informed about parties, policy and how election results will affect them. Just Us informs prisoners and patients of their rights and eligibility to vote, while also providing statements on policy positions from all political parties and many independents. The statements specifically target people in prison in order to enhance their political awareness and empower them to make a difference to their lives.
At the launch for the 2016 Edition, Aboriginal ex-prisoner John Harris explained that ‘Receiving the Just Us newspapers reminds prisoners that whilst we have lost our liberty doing our time – we have not lost our rights to our humanity and dignity’. Just Us published contributions from Electoral Commissions across Australia and New Zealand, as well as legal service providers and NGOs such as Red Cross, reminding voters of their right to vote and participate in the democratic process.
All Australian citizens have a constitutional right to engage in political communication not limited to election periods.
Consumers in locked hospital wards won the right to receive political communication.
Past Issues of Just Us
Framed was the predecessor of Just Us, with with 47 editions distributed nationally to libraries and individuals in prisons and locked hospitals.
The Framed archive is available upon request.