Land, Justice, Worker Control

Land, Justice, Worker Controlaboriginal-language-groups.jpg

The Queensland Labor Government is mired in secrecy and guilt over its treatment of Aboriginal people on Palm Island. Even in its own terms of reform, it has forfeited its right to govern.

The debate around the killing of Mulrunji by a Queensland Police officer and the subsequent actions taken against the people of Palm Island in the courts has centred on what form due process should take.

In the media we have witnessed a public debate between social democrats and liberals about what should be done about Snr Sgt Hurley. This debate has ensured a place for the protagonists on the front page or 6 o’clock news. It does sell newspapers, but has achieved nothing. It goes on and on, just as it has over the past 2 years, the past 40 years, the last 200 years. Whatever is done comes too late, too late for Mulrunji, too late for his son and mother. Too late for Palm. Too late for all.

On the sidelines we hear concern about the need for moderation in public demonstrations.

These concerns are based upon a false premise. The media grab is only a reflection of Queensland seen from the TV screen. It does not reflect people’s behaviour at political demonstrations.

Political demonstrations in Brisbane and elsewhere in Queensland are non-violent. From time to time, there has been provocation used against such demonstrations. But we rarely see provocation. The right wing media, police, governments or agent-provocateurs are behind the camera, hidden from view. Occasionally the politician or the public official is sent into the limelight to explain what went wrong.

In spite of non-violence, some still feel the need to state that a demonstration will be or was peaceful. Such statements are a play to the media and unecessary. Such statements are counterproductive as they distance protestors away from the victims of violence i.e. the people on Palm Island.

In one brief outbreak of grief, Palm Islanders were forced by police killing their son, Mulrunji, to retaliate against an uncaring and inhumane response by police, bureaucrats and government ministers.

The people on Palm knew justice will never be done. Events before and after demonstrate this.

National Newspapers would rather beat up Aboriginal rioters on Palm, talk of Lebanese youth in Sydney, African gangs in Melbourne.

No attempt is made to find a solution to inequality. No talk of discarding the rule of master over servant, the dominion of settler over aborigine.

When all else fails they cry: “Send in the independent umpire, Tony Fitzgerald!”

But that is how we are governed, by the unjust, the liar, the thief.

Bring out the punching bag, look for scapegoats, put up a Howard-clone to win government and ignore fundamental issues of aboriginal land, justice and worker control. Never before has so much land been in the hands of so few capitalists. The workers are in debt, equity is lost. In 2006 share markets boomed, Telstra was sold again, as was QANTAS and many other companies once in public hands.

Never before has so much profit been made by the privateer by distributing land to the wealthy speculator. Many have ignored or accepted by buying in on the boom. Few have stood up against the privateer and the master holds sway over servant. Meanwhile workers are sold onto the scrap heap.

Take the National Airline, QANTAS, privatised by Labor, now in the hands of finance capitalists, Allco Equity. Who benefits?

QANTAS bosses: Dickson, Gregg and Borghetti refuse to disclose their financial interest in the deal as they storm around Australia telling workers what a great thing this deal will be. Meanwhile bosses malign the few unions and pilots who attempt resistance. No longer the strike weapon for workers and their unions, as they buy shares to block the move by capitalists.

How do bosses and their backers promote their takeover bid to the public?

“Dixon (QANTAS CEO) is donating his shares to a charitable trust he is setting up mainly to help medical research and indigenous health and education” – [Flight checked on 28 December 2006]

Just another con where the middle class are the real beneficiaries while diabetes, heart disease, and premature ageing kills off another generation of Aboriginees. “Let them eat cake” is their message.

Yet a light shines from a Brisbane Demonstration on 21 December 2006. Leadership by aboriginal women and men in their struggle for justice in Queensland. Good role models to their brothers and sisters, both black and white.

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