Item: A meeting of Brisbane police officers has been told the Queensland Government's decision to seek an external review of the Palm Island death-in-custody case severely threatened the state's judicial process.Of course you know what all this is about don't you? >>
About 1,000 officers have unanimously voted to support their union's move to march on State Parliament amid concerns Attorney-General Kerry Shine is about to charge their colleague, Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, with the manslaughter of a man known as Mulrunji in 2004.
The Qld Police Union believes that its membership should be above the law and coppers have the right to kill and bash aborigines with impunity.
The wonderful red neck joke is that if the QPU hadn't sabotaged the first coronial inquest into Mulrunji's death they were just as likely to have had a result on par with the white wash in the Daniel Yock case in 1994.
It indicates just how much guts Christine Clements, the deputy coroner, had when she formulated her forensic ruling.
Now they cannot suffer the thought that the cops' grubby cover up ( straight after Mulrunji's death there was a stitch up between Hurley and his "investigating superiors' from Townsville over a few beers on Palm) and the usually compliant state depts aren't to their bidding.
But watch this debate closely because the cops haven't got much ammo in their corner -- except Peter Bettie of course! -- who has done everything possible NOT to rock the boat or ruffle the coppers' feathers. Now as this next stage unfolds in this ongoing tragedy, the cops put their community 'image' at risk as they arrogantly claim criminal immunity for all in blue. Beattie's dept of Public Prosecutions is dead in the water and because Labor was so compliant and cop friendly throughout the whole affair it is still seen as racist as the Bjelke Petersen government that preceded its watch in Qld.
Labor has suffered big time and is mud in the eyes of the indigenous community because the final charging of Hurley with manslaughter is overwhelmingly seen-- correctly-- as the direct product of a militant protest campaign and self organisation of their community rather than being a product of any intrinsic goodness of Labor's part..
Now, like some horrendous nightmare, the cops are saying that the reason why the Deaths in Custody recommendations were ignored was that the watch houses are understaffed.Of course if Hurley is supposed to be so innocent of wrong doing -- why should these recommendations be suddenly an issue? Was the aboriginal death quotient before supposed to be tolerable?
And now it's not?
Suddenly after Hurley is charged and after two years of QPU sabotage and unconditional squeals are made as to Hurley's innocence, the Commission recommendations get a public hearing in the same breath as the cops threaten to abandon indigenous communities and only 'serve' in those areas where they're wanted!
As for the relations between Murris and cops...? A change has come big time.Look at Aurukun.
So Beattie Labor is still spiralling into full on crisis over this issue. Major enforcement components of the state apparatus -- like the police force and the judiciary -- are in disarray and diusrepute. The indigenous community has been empowered by this win and a new radical leadership has consolidated which is fusing links across state borders.
This self confidence is going to change the whole debate on indigenous issues as so many jacky jackies are sidelined. I'd think that Sam Watson, a proud Socialist Alliance member and the SA senate candidate for Queensland , should probably be seen as a major aboriginal leader in this country at the present time and a key figure in this resurgence of struggle --a struggle that can, and no doubt will, inspire other movements for social change.
And ,if you like, the Qld roadshow , is moving south this February when the sorry time coalesces in Redfern. But theres' another key element in this fight that has to be taken up rather urgently. While four Palm Islanders have been jailed for their role in the protest on Palm back in 2004 (after pleading guilty and after their lenient sentences were overturned following a DPP appeal )-- Lex Wotton's case, the supposed 'ring leader' of the fracas -- has yet to go to trial. Thats' our next major ongoing task: we gotta defend this...warrior.
Lex is the last speaker on the LeftCast audio.
Like it was said in the US deep south before and during the Civil Rights movement: "a change is gonna come." Well, that promise is beginning to be addressed with this campaign here in Qld. And it stands on the shoulders of all those indigenous political activists and warriors who have gone before from Pemulwuy to Oodgeroo Noonuccal...& is now taken up with such confidence by Sam Watson, Lionel Fogarty, Lex Wotton, Lyle and Jenny Monroe, the Rev Alex Gator...and the rest.
Reconciliation is now passe.
As for the ALP -- the great tragedy has been that as far as I can make out the only public exodus from that quarter has been by Qld Murris. The impact of these events may still have to unfold inside the party but the core racist underpinnings of the ALP here have been exposed by the fact that Labor's rank and file has been significantly absent from this campaign. Voices of protest from within the party have been weak aside from the occasional criticisms made by Townsville MP Mike Reynolds. This is a party that has tolerated such key features of Beattie's racist agenda as the continuing theft of stolen wages and the abolition of the Indigenous ministry.
This has meant that the main political elements in the indigenous movement here have been the Democrats --which have had traditional relevance going back to Oodgeroo Noonuccal's membership of the party in the eighties; the Greens who at least could claim that they had a branch on Palm Island with its previous mayor, Erika Kyle, holding the Greens only elected office in Qld; and the Socialist Alliance who as well as its ongoing campaigning in partnership with Qld Murris will go into the approaching federal election with Sam Watson as its lead Senate candidate.