[Marxism] Socialist Alliance in solidarity with Palm Island Aboriginal community

Peter Boyle peterb at greenleft.org.au
Thu Dec 2 21:17:52 MST 2004

Socialist Alliance statement in support of the Aboriginal community

December 2, 2004

The brutal imposition of marshal law and the use of armed Tactical 
Response Group officers against the Aboriginal community on Palm Island

has shocked many Australians. Yet another indigenous person has died in 
police custody. Yet another community must mourn the loss of one of its 

Instead of treating this horrific death with sympathy or consideration, 
the Premier and the Queensland police have completely by-passed the 
local indigenous authorities on the Island's council and have chosen 
instead to invade the Island, treating it as a legitimate target for 
state terror. Children, pregnant women and the elderly have been forced 
to bury their faces in the dirt by police officers toting laser-guided

machine guns.

The Island has been isolated, it services cut off, its residents 
stranded and the desire of the community to mourn its loss has been 
thwarted by the determination of the state to vigorously impose the rule 
of law on a people who have been so poorly served by it. Palm Island is 
a creature engineered by the chronic racism of successive state 
governments. This is an undeniable historical fact. The guilty aren't

those young men incarcerated in Townsville jail and the victims are not 
the Queensland Police.

Any comment contrary to that expressed by the QLD Police Union or Police 
Commissioner Bob Atkinson is denigrated out of hand. Is Queensland now 
run by its police force? As Murri Indigenous leader and Socialist 
Alliance activist Sam Watson says, the QLD Crime Misconduct Commission 
(CMC) is just a rubber stamp for a vicious corps of armed, violent and 
racist thugs who act with impunity to terrorise our communities. Neither 
the CMC nor its predecessor [the Criminal Justice Commission] have ever 
recommended a single criminal charge against any police officer for 
alleged violence against an Aboriginal person.

This state's indigenous community has suffered much at the hands of 
those who would displace them. With the brutal events of the past week, 
the Indigenous community must feel that they are under siege and that 
their struggle for justice has reached a low ebb. The Socialist Alliance 
extends its love, sympathy and solidarity to the Palm Island Aboriginal 
community and commits itself to supporting all endeavors by the 
residents of Palm Island, its council and the wider Aboriginal community 
to restore services on the island and to seek justice for those now

being held in custody.

On December 1 the Murri Indigenous community held a mass meeting in 
Brisbane to address the Palm Island tragedy. The meeting decided on the

following demands:

* That the QLD Police leave Palm Island immediately;

* That all those charged over the alleged public disorder on Palm Island 
be released immediately without charge;

* That the QLD government pay all expenses and transport costs for the 
funeral service expected to be held on the Island on December 10;

* That QLD premier Peter Beattie and other politicians refrain from 
further comment on the tragedy. The Aboriginal community strongly

believes that this is a criminal matter, not a political football. A 
murder has been committed and the police officers responsible for this 
murder must be arrested and charged;

* That all documents relating to Aboriginal deaths in custody in QLD be 
placed in the hands of the United Nations and that the UN be asked to 
send in an investigative team to examine the evidence.

The Socialist Alliance supports these demands and urges all progressive 
organisations and individuals to mobilise in support of the Aboriginal 
community and to express our outrage at the police brutality directed 
against them. [For details of the December 11 National Day of Action see 
calendar pages].

[Statement issued by QLD Socialist Alliance convenors]

Aboriginal leader calls for national action day
National Indigenous Times, Wednesday, 1 December 2004 2:11:24 PM

The anger of the Aborigines
UK Independent, 03 December 2004

ABC Online: Noose incident fuels racial tension fears
Courier Mail:

Arrests continue on Palm Island

    Peaceful community rally and march, Sat Dec 11, 10am Roma Street
    Forum, City (between Roma St train station & King George Square).

All supporters of the Aboriginal community are welcome and encouraged to 
attend. It will be a silent funeral march conducted according to 
Aboriginal custom and participants are asked to respect this. The 
Socialist Alliance will have a contingent in the march so please join us 
in silent protest and heartfelt solidarity.

Please circulate it widely. Leaflets & posters for next Saturday's 
Brisbane rally and march will be available shortly and can be picked up 
from the Brisbane Activist Centre (email brisbane at greenleft.org.au 
<mailto:brisbane at greenleft.org.au>, phone (07) 3831 2644).

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