Tonight’s rescheduled Australian Story documents the history-making fall and rise of Debbie Kilroy, from murderous intentions in a high security women’s prison for serious drug offences to a high-profile crusading lawyer.
“Something clicked in her head to actually switch her mind around and suddenly be a power for good if you like, just an amazing thing,” says former Qld Corrective Services Director-General Keith Hamburger.
Earlier this year, Kilroy mounted a spur-of-the-moment crowd-funding campaign to pay off the court debts of Indigenous women incarcerated in Western Australia for defaulting on fines.
The campaign led to a deluge of donations. Celebrities like Russell Crowe and Orange Is The New Black star, Yael Stone, saw Kilroy’s goal of $100,000 quadruple in size. More than 11 women have been released from prison and reunited with their families, and over one hundred fines have been paid to keep defaulters out of jail.
Since leaving prison more than 25 years ago, Debbie Kilroy has fought to get women and girls out of prison and to keep them out through the organisation she founded Sisters Inside.
“I think people would say I’ve dedicated my life to fight,” says Kilroy.
“She’s not a saviour,” says son Josh. “She would cringe if she heard that…. She’s just an amazing independent woman and she’ll get done what needs to be done.”
Note: After the World Ended, which was previously scheduled to air on Monday, will now air on Monday, 10 June.
8pm tonight on ABC.