Beattie and Bush send in more troops!

During the period (1960s — 2000s) mining companies, Queensland State Governments, and the Queensland Police Department have turned Aurukun into a war zone for the Wik people of Far North Queensland.

Labor Premier Beattie rang President Bush to ‘ask for US marines to be sent to Aurukun as a peace keeping force this week (Courier Mail, 10 Jan 2007)’

Premier Beattie said afterwards “he was prepared to risk regime change in Queensland to protect the interests of Comalco and Rio Tinto”. Infrastructure minister Bligh said “that the US troops are also needed to secure the Gladstone power station near the aluminium refineries so important to economic growth (see map)”.

Premier-in-waiting, Anna Bligh, has signed a memorandum of agreement for police to protect missionaries and witnesses at the Aurukun Aboriginal Settlement.

In a bizarre twist, Ms Bligh code-named the deployment “Fitzgerald”.

Member for Kurilpa (West End) Bligh said:

“Eye-witnesses are crucial to the labor government’s effort to write Australian legal history. Through this memorandum we will maintain an unblemished record of not charging police who kill aboriginal people. We are proud Queenslanders.”

Ms Bligh went on to say that she had seized Petrie Terrace police barracks from heritage groups to house police and marines while in transit to Gladstone and Aurukun.

Senior government sources said that all Qld police and US troops being deployed to the far north will be shown historic footage of police riots during the 1971 Springbok tour.

In 1971 at Brisbane’s Tower Mill Motel Queensland police broke ranks to bash anti-Apartheid demonstrators outside the lodgings of the the South African Rugby team. A young Peter Beattie was hiding in the nearby Trades Hall at the time.

Ms Bligh (who won ministerial leather with the support of the Left of the ALP) added that Qld police will be authorised to carry weapons on Cape York communities: “However, we have asked police to make sure that all firearms are unlicensed.”

“We wish to make sure that indigenous women can walk without fear” Ms Bligh added. [See No Licence for Rifle , Courier Mail, 11 January 2007].

By way of contrast, Labor politicians Beattie and Bligh should take a leaf out of Uncle Bob Anderson’s stories about aboriginal women from Aurukun about events in the 1960s.

“Uncle Bob was sharing his witnessing of the tears of Aboriginal women from Aurukun as they told him the story of their homes burned down by the Weipa police, and how this witnessing had become a part of his memory.

Not long after the houses were destroyed, Comalco moved into Weipa to commence their mining operations.”

“The oral testimony of these women is also recorded in David Bradbury’s “State of Shock” (1989) a documentary that deals with the background story of Alwyn Peters, jailed for the murder of his young wife.”

“The Peters family had been one of many forcibly removed from their homes and ‘resettled’ by the mining company, and made severely dysfunctional by the enforced dislocation.”

“Uncle Bob argued that once retold, this story became a part of his memory and he, as witness to those tears, retold it to us as a part of our shared history.”

‘Memories are history…we are our memories’.

— Comment by ‘Uncle Bob’ Anderson, Aboriginal elder and veteran trade unionist, at the Labour and History conference

in 2002.

The moral from Uncle Bob’s story is that nothing politicians Beattie and Bligh do can wipe away our collective memories.

(Thanks to Dr Debra Beattie’s PhD thesis, “The Wrong Crowd” for Uncle Bob’s quotes which are true.

All the quotes in bold are from Murdoch’s Brisbane Courier Mail and are entirely wrong, but true nonetheless.

Maps of Cape York and Gladstone were supplied without courtesy of mining company, Rio Tinto.)

4 responses to “Beattie and Bush send in more troops!

  1. After all the years (1980 – 2007) the Left in Queensland (including the Communist Party, Aboriginal radicals, Womens’ Rights activists and trade union militants) has spent engaging the Labor Party and its members only to see how its leaders now use police and the justice system to attack and undermine Aboriginal people and more generally the working class . Was it worth it?

    An alternative is necessary, but is it possible? If so, when?

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  2. Well we all know that the Courier Mail can’t even lie straight, on a table, some things never change. I will never forget the headlines about us, the people, ‘attacking’ Queensland’s finest, yeah our bodies and faces against their feet and fists.

    Which brings me back to the point about US troops, why? Why not use good ole Aussies? They will do as their masters bid. Look at them now there in Iraq and Afghanistan. They should not be there, we know that they should not be there, but ???

    Now as in the past (we) are battling Apathy, nobody wants to do anything until it concerns them and then it is usually too late. It was a little depressing to read about 100 people who turned up at an Anti-war protest and of course the speeches were about being few in number on the streets, but there are millions out there supporting us.

    Where?? Lala land? Now, more than ever we the people have to get up off our fat asses and do something for Justice, equality, health and our and our children’s happiness. I know you are going to call me an old hippie, but what ever happened to “Peace, Love and Happiness?” What happened to the steam/energy we had back in the seventies??

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  3. Stephen,

    I draw your attention to the postscript on the above posting:

    “All the quotes in bold are from Murdoch’s Brisbane Courier Mail and are entirely wrong, but true nonetheless.”

    You will recall that, in the 1970s, the Courier Mail was a hopeless rag. Times are no different. There is no effective opposition to a government driven by an economic rationalist agenda.

    While the quotes in the posting are fictional the truth is that Aboriginal interests and mining interests have always been in conflict.

    You are right, Queensland dances to the tune of mining giants in the same way that it did when Joh and Flo received their pay via shares direct from Comalco.

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  4. Are you for real? i cannot believe your story of Beatie asking for US troops. If that were true, then Queensland is in bigger trouble than when i was there under Joh. This sounds like a scenario out of a George Orwell novel.

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