“Yet clever than pictures them show off
making fun of old Boonah
sitting outside waiting for
dreaming to come to reality”
from “Remember Something Like This” by Lionel Fogarty [old Boonah = peace-maker] “Minyung Woolah Binnung” = “What Saying Says”. Southport, QLD: Keeaira Press, 2004.
Mulrunji was a Palm Island man killed by police in November 2004. The campaign for justice that ensued reached its peak on Invasion Day, 26 January 2007, when the Qld government recommended that Queensland police officer, Snr Sgt Chris Hurley should go to trial on the manslaughter of Mulrunji.
It is now, one year later, Invasion Day 2008
Beattie is gone, replaced by Bligh.
The police union is out there trying to get the findings of the coroner, quoted in the letter below, revoked.
The man who killed Mulrunji, Sgt Chris Hurley, was acquitted of manslaughter in Townsville last year, even though he admitted in the witness stand to being the cause of Mulrunji’s death by ‘falling’ on him.
Here is the letter sent prior to Invasion Day 2007.
26 January 2008
Please find below a letter to the Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, during the Mulrunji Campaign.
PO Box 5093 West End 4101
Your Ref: MCU
Peter Beattie MP
Premier and Minister for Trade Queensland Government
We refer to your proforma letter dated 31 October 2006 in reply to the petition of 1160 people delivered to you by Alec Doomadgee in the company of 150 other petitioners at the gates of parliament on 10 October 2006. The thrust of the petition was that you instruct the Police Commissioner to terminate the employment of Senior Sergeant Hurley on the basis that he killed Mulrunji Doomadgee in the police watch house on Palm Island on 19 November 2004 as indicated by the acting coroner in her judgment dated 3 October 2006. We note that you have taken no such action. Many of us were in attendance when you stated the following at the gates of parliament:
“Many people said at the beginning (when Mulrunji died) that there would not be due process…I said at the time that the coroner would go through due process and the matter would be followed appropriately and that’s what has happened.”
Please indicate to us why the following actions (of due process) have not yet been taken?
- Why Snr. Sgt. Hurley was not charged from the outset by the internal police prosecutions unit?
- Alternatively, why the DPP has not charged him long before this? Why the police commissioner has failed to stand Snr Sgt Hurley down from day one in the same way as any Qld public servant would have been stood down (given the serious allegations made when Mulrunji was killed by Snr Sgt Hurley)?
- Why those people who rioted on Palm Island have been charged and some already punished, while no action has been taken against the police who witnessed Mulrunji crying out for help from the cell after being fatally injured, with no help being given.
- Why no effort has been made to discover what motivated the police in attendance for their conduct as they saw images from the cell video of Mulrunji, writhing in pain as he lay dying on the cell floor (p26 of her “Finding of Inquest”)?
- Why Snr Sgt Hurley has not been charged with perjury for the lies he used to accommodate the medical evidence in the second autopsy (p22 of her “Finding of Inquest”)?
- Why both your government and previous Labour governments have not implemented the detailed recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody in 1991 (p28 of her “Findings of inquest)?
This list of ‘due process’ as you called it (or more correctly the failure of due process) on 10 October 2006 at the gates of parliament is not exhaustive in these matters.
We note that in reply to our petition you state:
“A high level response team is currently undertaking an urgent assessment of the recommendations of the Acting State Coroner’s report in this tragic death.”
- Why does this statement in your letter still fail to acknowledge that Mulrunji was killed and that the finding of inquest was that Senior Sergeant Hurley’s changed recollection and reconstruction of where he (Mulrunji) had fallen occurred after he knew exactly what injury had caused Mulrunji’s death (i.e. the three punches delivered by Snr Sgt Hurley)[p26 Finding of Inquest].
- Why have Snr Sgt Hurley’s colleagues from the Townsville CIB not been charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice in their collusion with said Snr Sgt to cover up his crimes? (pp 9, 10, 12, 16, and finding 28 at p31 of Finding of Inquest).
- Why you have not issued an apology to members of the Palm Island community for your precipitate and unreasonable actions in sending the riot squad into that community to harass them when it has proven that their concerns about the attempted cover up of the killing of Mulrunji proved justified.
Please indicate when the assessment of the high level response team will be complete and when we may see a reply to the questions listed above?
Yours faithfully, Name and email address to be placed in the space provided below.
Footnotes: The riot only occurred because the people of Palm Island knew that a murder had occurred and that it was going to be covered up while the rest of Queensland was being spoon fed by senior police through the media details of:
1) What a great bloke Hurley is and how he loved aborigines.
2) The terrible ordeal police were put through during the riot
3) The character assassination of Roy Bramwell (the witness to Hurley punching Murrinyi).
TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER LEADERS AND ABORIGINAL LEADERS
WILL MARCH ON PARLIAMENT HOUSE
1 PM ON FRIDAY
22ND JUNE 2007
TO DEMAND THAT PREMIER BEATTIE
MEET WITH ALL INDIGENOUS COUNCILS
AND JUSTIFY THE NEW GOVERNMENT
AMALGAMATIONS OF COUNCILS
WE DO NOT WANT TO LOSE OUR LAND
WE DO NOT WANT TO LOSE OUR CULTURE
WE MUST STAND AND FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS
AND FOR THE RIGHTS OF OUR CHILDREN
COME AND SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITIES
HANDS OFF OUR COUNCILS
PAY THE STOLEN WAGES
GIVE US BACK OUR DEPARTMENT
GIVE US BACK OUR MINISTER
URGENT COMMUNITY MEETING
FRIDAY 22ND JUNE 2007
(*) THE FORCED AMALGAMATION OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AUTHORITIES
(*) DEATHS IN CUSTODY
(*) THE PALM ISLAND TRIAL
(*) ANY OTHER COMMUNITY BUSINESS
This meeting will be attended by representatives from local government authorities from across Queensland. There will be senior people and leaders from the Torres Strait and from mainland communities.
Please come to the meeting and support our people on the Islands and people on the DOGIT communities.
- People intend to march on Parliament and demand a meeting with the Premier and his government.
- Beattie and his government have sold our people out, they have not repaid the Stolen Wages! They have wiped out our Minister for Indigenous Affairs! They have closed down the Department of Indigenous Affairs!
- It is time for this government to be held accountable!!
( All inquiries – Sam Watson 0401227443 )