Australians all let us rejoice?

So it is Australia day 2007.   Today the news is that Chris Hurley, the police officer that killed Mulrunji in the Palm Island watch house is to be prosecuted for manslaughter.  The independent review of the evidence has recommended prosecution, contradicting the Queensland Director of Public Prosecutions who dismissed the evidence of the coronial enquiry into the death by saying the whole thing was a tragic accident.

For many non-Aboriginal Australians the death of Mulrunji and the apparent cover up by the first police investigation and the DPP’s refusal to lay charges has been an abrupt awakening into the institutionalised legitimisation of killing Aboriginal people, a reality that has been a hallmark of Australian police forces from the marines of the first fleet in 1788 right through to the officers who patrol Aboriginal people today.

In the 1800s the “Native Police” was established which was the most brutal killing regime that this country has ever seen – bands of death squads who opened up Australia’s rural frontiers by exterminating those Aboriginal people who resisted  the invasion of their lands.

The key element of the native police was the invisibility of their deeds.  At the time Aborigines were considered not competent to take an oath in court and as such were unable to provide any evidence to enquiries into the activities of the native police.  The only official records of their many murderous raids on Aboriginal camps were the squeaky clean official reports written by the sole white officer in charge of the “dispersals”.

It is clear that today’s police force is just as capable as the old native police to falsify and sterilise information to disguise the truth of the killing of Aboriginal people.  While it is of some comfort that Hurley will face a trial for his actions, the truth is that this killing would have remained swept under the carpet if it wasn’t for an extra-ordinary backlash from the community including the burning of the Palm Island watch house and the many high profile people who have publically condemned the cover up.   Most Aboriginal people when they come into conflict with police, including the many who die in police custody, do not share the same sensational and widespread media coverage as the Mulrunji death and consequently the bulk of injustices in this country remain as a simple matter of routine policing with squeaky clean reports providing the official record of events.

The still unresolved death of Mulrunji was a major focus of the “Invasion day” rally and march which I attended in Brisbane today.  Speaker after speaker delivered heart felt statements of anger, indignation and sadness, emotions that the whole crowd seemed to share.   The names Danny Yock (killed by Brisbane police in 1993) and TJ Hickey (killed by Sydney police a few years ago) were mentioned many times as well as references to many other incidents of Aboriginal deaths in custody.

The rally clearly articulated the pain of Aboriginal Australia as well as the defiant assertion that this is an Aboriginal country no matter what white authorities say or do.  But there was no plan of where to go, no suggested direction for political organisation of strategic considerations.  The recent growth of land rights marches has been a knee jerk reaction to the high profile flashpoints such as Mulrunji’s death.  They are not (as yet) being used to build a movement ot campaign (though there is much rhetoric along those lines).

I have had the priviledge in my life to have been taught by Qawanji  (Vincent Brady) and Bejam – (Denis Walker).  These two men were, in their youth, key supporters of Pastor Don Brady – the key Aboriginal leader of Brisbane during the land rights movement of the 70s and 80s.

Pastor Brady had a plan for his times which included the development of an Aboriginal legal, health and housing service in Brisbane – inspired by the U.S. Black Panther movement who Pastor Brady met while on a Churchill Scholarship visit to the U.S.

Pastor Brady’s plan for the empowerment of Aboriginal people was never seen as a solution, as a welfare strategy.  It was a step towards consolidating the community to develop its own power base so that it would have the capacity to take the next step whatever that turned out to be.

But the principles of radical self determination were washed out of all the Aboriginal services through the development of ATSIC which bureacritised and sterilised the key functions of Aboriginal power and turned the organisations into bureacracies every bit as dysfunctional as mainstream bureacracy.

Now ATSIC has gone and Aboriginal Australia is developing again a new desire for radical self determination in the face of an inflexible white state apparatus just like in the 70’s when Aboriginal people were first freed from the restrictions of the Aboriginal protection act .

Just as in the days of Pastor Brady or Charles Perkins and Bruce McGuinness, there is now a power vacuum in Aboriginal society that must be filled with vision and political direction – with no help from and in direct resistance to the various laws policies and agencies of white Australia.

On the first Oz day – January 26 1788 – the myth of Austrtalia was born.  The lie of Terra Nullius was the basis for the new British colony which has denied the truth of Aboriginal Australia from that day until today.  Hopefully one day a new generation of non-Aboriginal Australians will accept the truth of this country’s history as well as the truth of the widespread institutional racism that our whole public service is saturated in – especially the police.  Until that day Aboriginal people and their supporters, it seems,  must remain outside of the legal and psychological matrix that is “Australia”.



Filed under justice

7 responses to “Australians all let us rejoice?

  1. Derek Hanks

    I would suggest to the people that host this website that they review a number of the posts on here, as they and the people who have posted them will more than likely be sued for defamation. Refering that “the police” killed certain people and that Chris Hurley killed Cameron Doomagee is just that, defamation.

    For a group that scream about justice it seems that you only want payback, and will not accept any decision that is not in your favour.

  2. John Tracey

    A man died at the hands of a policeman. While some have called this murder there seems to be no evidence of this as intent is a key element. It seems Hurley only intended to inflict a beating on Mulrunji and he died as an unintended consequence.
    Just like the drunk at the wheel of a fatal car accident, they “killed” someone.

    The coroners report clearly said that Hurley killed Mulrunji. Despite the (alleged) contempt of court committed by the spokesperson for the police union by trying to discredit the coroner, she said what she said and it is a matter of public record and has been affirmed by Laurence Street’s review.
    I’m abot to write a new post on this issue.

  3. Derek Hanks

    As I have said previously, you only see what you want to see.

    What about the car accident that Cameron Doomagee was involved in earlier in the day? what about the 4 other physical altercations he was involved in?

    Why as a police officer am I responsible for this incident that happened hundreds of kilometres away from where I work? why am I having the finger pointed at me? Why am I call a “white captain cook c**t”?

    It seems that the people that have made a decision on this have not even seen any of the evidence or tesitimony.

    Some are even now saying that one of the witnessed didn’t suicide, he was killed by police.

    you are obviously a anti police bigot.

  4. John T

    Do you have any evidence at all other than lies given to the media from the original corrupt investigation by Hurley’s friends about this car accident and altercations?

    If these things occured, why was it not mentioned in evidence at the coronial inquest?

    Did the police cover up this info or is it just a simple lie that you are regurgitating?

  5. Bush and the Republicans were not protecting us on 9-11, and we aren’t a lot safer now. We may be more afraid due to george bush, but are we safer? Being fearful does not necessarily make one safer. Fear can cause people to hide and cower. What do you think? Why has bush turned our country from a country of hope and prosperity to a country of belligerence and fear.
    Our country is in debt until forever, we don’t have jobs, and we live in fear. We have invaded a country and been responsible for thousands of deaths.
    The more people that the government puts in jails, the safer we are told to think we are. The real terrorists are wherever they are, but they aren’t living in a country with bars on the windows. We are.

  6. Sydney ,referred by the local Aborigines as “Warrane”,has been inhabited for at least 50,000 years.50,000 year old grindstones been found in the area recently, predating any previous finds worldwide…read more

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