Even Warren Mundine (ALP President) was scathing of Beattie in Townsville today.
I guess the most interesting speech today was the civil libertarian Terry O'Gorman who tried to give a legalistic review of the DPP's decision in effect that the DPP's problem was lack of scrutiny and transparency. Sam Watson took up the sentiment of the crowd there with a straight talking response to O'Gorman that the REAL problem with the DPP isn't 'transparency' at all but that the Deputy Coroners report clearly implicates Hurley in Murunji's death and the only scrutiny we want to see is that which is available in court.
Hurley should be charged.
You'll note that the Beattie message that he took to Palm today was the standard 'separation of powers'. He got a press release off today --Beattie to request Mulrunji review--to salve the outrage but this self evident 'request' has not one iota of relevance to the case because, as the rally made clear today, there is one law for Murris and another for cops in Joh Bjelke Beattie's Qld. This isn't about demanding a review -- this is about laying charges against Chris Hurley because -- even as O'Gorman conceded -- any lawyer knows that cases go to court everyday in Qld with ten times less evidence to their name that any case that could be mounted against Chris Hurley.
So the legalese and jargon that Beattie has parroted and which a few other chatterboxes have embraced isn't the issue. The Doomagee family and Qld Murris demand their day in court and the only reason that isn't happening is because they're black and Hurley is a white cop.
Any cursory reading of the Deputy Coroners report has to conclude that there is a prima facie case for charges being laid against this copper. But the way it's set up now through the posturing of Beattie and the Police Union -- Hurley is apparently in no way culpable OF ANYTHING -- he didn't even "fall" on Murunji! --and the guy was so dedicated to the indigenous communities 'which he served '(almost as a career specialty) that he is supposed to be, according to the Police Union, a god damn hero.
So don't think for a minute that this movement is asking for a review as though its the best thing on offer. This is about charging the thug and taking those charges through the courts. And that's because this is the line in the sand as Murunji's death comes after 12 years when policing is supposed to function according to the recommendations of the Deaths in Custody Com.
None of that was activated in this context. Prime and baseline recommendations were totally ignored.-- Hurley even told the deputy coroner he didn't know what those protocols entailed --and this was a cop who specialised in working indigenous communities! So today was a day where Murri speakers referenced all the killings that have not been addressed -- killings that the police have got away with.
The most brutal tragedy about all this is that Murunji SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ARRESTED. Thats' Custody recommendation #1 broken! He had never been arrested in his life before. As his cousin, Alec Doomagee, told the protest today -- he was proud of the fact that he had never been
incarcerated. But he was arrested one morning and a hour later he was dead.
So in that regard re-read the petition that we handed to the parliament today because it makes no bones about its clear demands.
The rally today was called around these key demands:
- The suspension of DPP Leanne Clare, and an independent review of decision not to charge Hurley.
- That charges be brought against Senior Sergeant Hurley to let a court determine his guilt or innocence.
- An end to Black deaths in custody, with the full implementation of the Royal Commission recommendations.
Beattie tried to retell his anti-apartheid activism story to the Palm Islanders again today I see. He must have dined off that one for years! Sam Watson has a great anecdote in regard to that which you can catch on the audio here:
But as I wrote here before this is a major festering issue for the ALP in Qld because if you don't accept the "separation of powers" melarky the party stinks like any dedicated racist institution. No better than Joh's Nationals, for instance. And that's a problem for the party after so many debacles and such crude racism being engineered as a matter of course: rigid refusal to negotiate over stolen wages, abolition of the separate ministry for indigenous affairs four days after winning re-election this year, then the total pandering to the Police Union for all of the past two years such that Hurley was never stood down from his policing duties.
My guess is that there are going to be a lot of ALP members who won't wear this.Would you? At least I hope there are -- and that something has to give in the party. While Paddy Jerome's resignation from the ALP indicates what Murris may feel about the party; to what degree there is going to be white solidarity with that exodus remains to be seen.
Beattie has enough ego that he believes that he can front a hostile audience and win them over with a cheesey grin. I don't think it worked on Palm today and this media tart is running out of spins. I expect he thought he could win over the islanders but I gather since the Doomagee family snubbed him, he's persona non grata there too.
So what happens now? Aside from what this means for the indigenous community nationally the key thing now is to work towards January 26th -- Invasion Day -- and build rallies around the country taking up the demands raised in Qld today.
AND in news just in comes this delightful Catch 22 detail, to wit the cops get to decide whether they'll charge one of their own whom they unconditioanlly backed for the past 2 years:
Mulrunji inquiry would back DPP: lawyer
....Mr Lohe's advice said an inquiry was very likely to reach the same conclusion as Ms Clare, unless the DPP's assessment of the available evidence had been wildly astray.The Crown Solicitor also said that even if an inquiry recommended charges, it would remain for the police to make the final decision.Mr Lohe said neither a commission of inquiry nor the DPP could tell police what to do but could only ask for charges to be laid.....But Mr Beattie said he would back the DPP if she sought an independent review of her decision...........