International Indigenous Solidarity for Lex Wotton

On Thursday 23 – Sunday 26 October 2008 an International indigenous
solidarity gathering was held in Melbourne, Australia. The gathering
has featured speakers from Aboriginal Australia, Latin America, Asia
and the Pacific.

On Sunday representatives of various Indigenous Nations from around
the world, unanimously passed a resolution that calls for the freedom
of our brother Lex Wotton. These Indigenous Nations are:

Gunnai Nation
Arabunna Nation
Yorta -Yorta Nation
Wurundjerri Nation
Kulin Nation
Nyoongar Kurnai Nation
Wiradjuri Nation
Ngai Tuhoe` Aotearoa
Ngati Whatua ki Kaipara
Kokatha Nation
Mt Nancy Town Camp in Alice Springs
Traditional Owners at Muckaty, NT
Papua New Guinea.
West Papua
Bolivia- Aymara Nation
Ecuador- CONAIE government
Chile – Mapuche nation
Colombia- ONIC

28 thoughts on “International Indigenous Solidarity for Lex Wotton

  1. Aborigine Killed in Custody, Whitewash Attempted, Cop Acquitted & Promoted, Elder to be Sentenced, Bravery Awards to be Handed Out, Jesus Wept!

    I was born and raised in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. The city evolved out of the brutal British penal colony of Moreton Bay. It was built on aboriginal genocide and Irish and other convict slavery. The original tribe that occupied the area had been totally liquidated before I got there!

    When I was 8 years of age, aboriginal Australians were not citizens of Australia, they did not have the vote. When I was 11, the Queensland state government declared a “State of Emergency” to facilitate the racially selected South African Rugby team to play a game of footy in Brisbane. When I was 13, it was still illegal to cohabitate with a native under the Vagrancy Act, the specific Qld Black Acts were legislation ruling the aboriginal population and restricting their freedom. When I was 17, the state government suspended civil liberties to faciltate the extraction and export of uranium from traditional aboriginal lands.

    When I was 22 I went to jail for the first time as a political prisoner – 30% of the jail population in the state were aborigine. There is still not one aboriginal police officer in the state (they had one in the ’80’s but he was driven out by the imbeded culture of racism in the force!), aboriginal death in custody at the hands of cops and screws were/are not unusual. I have been in custody twice when aboriginal prisoners were killed by staff violence or set up, on another occasion I was in population for the predictable suicide of a minor from Groot on the youth wing. I find myself at 48 with not much changing back at home when it comes to the death of aboriginal prisoners in custody, bureaucatic cover ups, acquitted authority, colonial bravery awards handed out, essential oppression remaining unaddressed.

    In 2005 Senior Segeant Hurley became the first police officer, to be charged with an aboriginal death in custody in the history of the state of Queensland following the killing of Mulrunji Doomadgee in Palm Island watchhouse.

    After several years of fully paid leave while awaiting trial on manslaughter charges (at which he was acquitted) Snr Sgt Hurley has since received a promotion, and is now an Inspector of police working on the Gold Coast.

    He received a $100,000 compensation payout from the Queensland Government for property lost in the fire, and his legal bills were covered by the Queensland Police Union, and fundraising efforts by QPS members.

    Last week, Palm Island local councilor Lex Wotton was found guilty by an all-white Brisbane jury of ‘rioting with destruction’. Wotton was convicted in Brisbane in relation to the events in which a police station, adjoining courthouse, a police residence and a vehicle were destroyed by fire that followed attempted white cover up of the killing of Mulrunji Doomadgee. Doomadgee was a 36-year-old Palm Island man who had been arrested for “public nuisance” by Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, the officer-in-charge of the Palm Island police station. Within an hour of his arrest, Mulrunji lay dead on the floor of a police cell, a victim of massive internal injuries, including a ruptured spleen, four broken ribs and a liver that had been ‘almost cleaved in two’ from a huge compressive force.

    A subsequent coronial inquest found that Snr Sgt Hurley was responsible for the death. It also uncovered numerous breaches of procedures by Queensland Police in the ensuing investigation.

    The community erupted on November 26 – a week to the day after the death – after they were told at a town meeting than a pathologist’s report had found Mulrunji’s death was “an accident”.

    Palm Island Councilor Lex Wotton is presently imprisoned in Queensland being transferred from Brisbane to Townsville for sentencing this coming Friday. In the same week, back in Brisbane, 22 members of the Qld Police Riot Squad will receive “bravery awards” for arresting Lex during their militarised occupation of Palm in the aftermath the uprising that followed the initial cover up of the killing of Mulrunji Doomadgee.

    Police claim local councilor Lex Wotton led the riot and he was arrested while his children were present by armed police with dogs at 4am in the morning. He has since been found guilty for ‘rioting with destruction’. Wotton’s lawyers claim he was the one who called off the riots so police could escape unharmed. He is now being held in custody and awaits sentencing this coming Friday November 7th, in Townsville.

    Jesus wept!

    Ciaron O’Reilly

    Dublin, Ireland

  2. I would just like to add briefly to Ciaron’s report.

    I have great respect for some police. I am sure our local Dayboro cop Ken would no more bash someone in custody that he would his own mother.

    That said, there can be little doubt from any objective reading of the events on Palm Island, that Sgt Hurley bashed Mulrungi Doomadgee to death.

    So how did we end up where we are, with Hurley rewarded and Wotton jailed?

    I think a lot has to do frightened racist white population which is prepared to accept a criminal justice system in which people like Wotton and Doomadgee are seen as unfortunate collateral damage.

    For those unfamiliar with the criminal justice system here is an indisputable fact:

    In court, the police are habitual liars.

    I do not to say this with any malice or bitterness. It is merely an objective fact observed from over thirty years of going to court. Everyone involved in the criminal justice system knows it. The police, the “crims”, the defence lawyers, the prosecution lawyers, the judges and magistrates all know the police generally have no respect for the truth in court.

    In September 2005 my face was a bloody mess after Constable Bruce Jennings ground it into the concrete, in a vicious act of senseless and totally unprovoked violence. Naturally I had to be charged with something, andI was charged with obstructing police.

    Police and two security guards all lied outrageously in court. I had nine witness including a number of lawyers who contradicted their evidence. Nothing could have been more obvious to anyone in the court room that they were “lying through their teeth”, to use the phrase used by Wotton’s lawyer used referring to the police in his case.

    I was found not guilty. But “liberal” magistrate Kerri McGuiness failed to make any comment regarding police behavior in her summing up. She failed to condemn the police assault, or comment on my evidence that they had lied even copying one another’s witness statements, right down to the same spelling mistakes.

    I would suggest that like the vast majority of Queenslanders, she accepts police violence, police lies, and police victims, as unfortunate collateral damage. I am sure she feels strongly (even if it is not acknowledged intellectually) that she needs police to protect her power and privilege and all that her $150,000 a year salary will buy.

    As Ciaron points out, this week police will receive bravery awards while Lex Wotton gets sentenced. In Lex Wotton’s case, the picture was painted of 19 police hiding in terror of rioting aboriginal people on Palm Island. I do not know all the details or if this is part of the “lying through their teeth” referred to.

    Most likely it was, as most of the police involved have applied or compensation payment as well. None of them were hurt, but this picture will do much to maintain or increase the racist fear necessary to keep such a ‘filthy rotten” criminal justice system going, and to ensure that many otherwise sympathetic whites will continue to accept he “collateral damage” such as deaths in custody as the price (someone else has to pay) for their safety.

    Jim Dowling

    “Eat bread and salt and speak the truth.” – a great Russian saying

    There are only two feelings, love and fear
    There are only two languages, love and fear
    There are only two activities, love and fear
    There are only two motives, two procedures, two frameworks, two results

    Love and fear
    Love and fear.

    Michael Leunig

  3. The non-politics of moral outrage.

    While non-Aboriginal Australia can discuss the terrible situation amongst themselves, and they can have protests and write articles in papers and sign petitions, they can even print a T-shirt, until they make a real political connection to Aboriginal australia then nothing changes.

    It is easy for us to incorporate the genocide into our own frame of reference and use the gory details to expound upon our own white ideologies. It is a little bit harder to welcome isolated Aboriginal individuals into our meetings or even homes to share with us on our own terms. But until non-Aboriginal people can actively engage with Aboriginal Australia on its own terms and within its own agendas and on its own turf then nothing will change, no matter how much white people whinge amongst themselves.

    The only thing power respects is power.

    Marching against the police with a permit and protesting outside an empty Parliament house is not power, it is just well regulated whinging in the usual tradition of white protest..

    Petitioning the enemy to be nice is pathetic. Even after the failure of the Royal commision into Aboriginal Deaths in custody, and the aquittal of Hurley and the conviction of all the Palm Islanders (not just Lex has gone to gaol), why does the left still promote the liberal bourgiose myth that somehow another enquiry will bring about change? Can Caesar really judge himself?

    Let the lawyers call for their enquiries but the steps towards solutions do not lie there.

    Only when the anger and concern of non-Aboriginal Australia can be harnessed to resource and facilitate the Aboriginal structures and agendas will anything change. I am not talking about the welfare bureacracies but the Sovereign customary law of traditional owners and/or the the democratically elected Aboriginal councils in places like Palm Island.

    Forget about trying to change the nature of the white government. Focus instead on building the black government, the Aboriginal powerbase.

    Without such a relationship, white moral outrage remains as just gossip amongst the invaders.

    As Lex Wotton said at his Brisbane public meeting, Its about the original crime, the theft of land.

  4. John,

    As you know, petitions are very important in the Aboriginal and Islander Struggle. Way back to the 1860s in Qld up till the 1967 referendum it was indigenous and non-indigenous petitioners that enabled recognition of Aboriginal & Islander people as the traditional owners of the land in Australia.

    A petition was instrumental in the Mulrunji Campaign to get (the now Inspector) Hurley charged with manslaughter of Cameron Doomadgee — the first time in Australian history that a Qld Police Officer has been charged as a result of a death in custody. In the crimial courts Hurley was acquitted but not in the court of public opinion and it was petitions that helped change that public opinion.

    Also it was a petition that built the 1977 Anti-Uranium and Street march struggles, instigated by the Learning Exchange and Friends of the Earth in West End Brisbane.

    So why take this line about constructive action to advance the struggle to Free Lex Wotton?

    Ian Curr
    3 Nov 2008

  5. Failte,

    Thanx John for correcting my grammar. Bear in mind, like many others, I continue to struggle with an imposed colonial language and to learn some of my own.

    Thanx Ian for posting my stament on your site. The statement is primarily an intiial “confessional statement” and as my week unfolds, or unravels, I will be looking to muster more of a response to the sentencing of Lex. Friday will find me in Glasgow, so I will try to find something Australian to stand outside to make a public statement of solidarity with Lex and family and against the Queensland state’s refusal to seriously address the issues around the killing in the Palm Island watchhouse

    . ….”Jesus wept” has a scriptual basis as Christ enters Jerusalem, he senses the options his people face between transformation or annhilation. Christ weeps as he accurately predicts the city being leveled by insurgent violence and Roman imperial blowback a few short decades after his death. “Jesus wept” is also part of popular Irish coloquilism, I first heard it uttered at a junior soccer game in Dublin when a forward missed an open goal – a wasted action when faced with unique cicrcumstances presenting a golden opportunity to do something productive. Can be applied here to the Queensland state, police and people in the wake of this killing in the Palm Island watchhouse.

    As Dan O’Neill reflected in the ’60’s “cynicism is the 5th. column of the establishment!” I think John has confused being courageously rebelious here with being merely contrary from one’s comfort zone. I would stand corrected if there is evidence of John’s observation having been made in the context of productive activity.

    There is, however, a history of leftist ambulance chasing where activity seems to have more to do with promoting one’s brand than seriously addressing the issues that have arisen. Yesterday Belfast, a small city that has seen a recent history of many deaths in custody, shoot-to-kill policy, collusion/state murders of unarmed people, was to witness a return parade of the Royal Irish Regiment (R.I.R) of the British Army returning from unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. MOD (British Ministry of Defence) initial plans for a flyover by two Harrier jets, R.I.R. parading with arms, playing regimental tunes were abandoned late last week. “Sinn Fein also sought to reduce tensions….announcing that a planned protest would be rerouted away from the parade. Sinn Fein minister Gerry Kelly said that their demonstration would be in “visual range” of the army march…”…..but dissident republicans opposed to the peace process said they would ignore Sinn Fein’s decison to alter their protest. They said they would picket the army march regardless of what Sinn Fein did.”

    How much of this is political positioning or people authetically struggling to come up with responses to a provocative event in a volatile context (or a mix of both?) you can assess after reading the following reports. The theme of deaths of unarmed locals at the hands of the state makes this relevant to this thread etc.

    Sinn Fein Report
    (includes embeded footage 9:48 of Loyalist attack on their demonstration and interview with Gerry Adams)

    Eirigi demonstration which refused the Sinn Fein limitations(includes embeded vid of speeches) Belfast

    Workers Solidarity Movement (anarchist) Press Release SlanCiaron

  6. Ian,

    Lets get some things in perspective. Firstly the petitions and marches had nothing to do with Hurley being charged, it was burning down the police complex that triggered the second autopsy that alarmed the lawyer class who lobbied for the charges.

    DSPers have frequently claimed responsibility for building this movement which I find most dishonest, they just jumped on the band wagon like a broad range of other people responding to the people of Palm Island.

    The Aboriginal Rights Coalition are Johnny come lateleys to the Lex Wotton campaign too, which has been going for several years, organised in the first instance by Stewart Levitt and the Errol Wyles Foundation and then by the MUA.

    The people of Palm Island, in particular their new mayor Alf Lacey have not needed any help to speak for their situation either.

    The ARC have just applied their usual united front of the left protest methodology onto the campaigns and not made links with Aboriginal agendas beyond themselves. They have incorporated Aboriginal isssues into their own framework and used Aboriginal suffering to their own ends.

    I made no reference to you so I don’t know what your comment about grammar means.

    As for cynicism, I am indeed very cynical about your adoption of the cause of Lex Wotton considering your rejection of the sovereignty of the Mirrar at the Jabiluka blockade and your public condemnation of Aboriginal leaders. You clearly do not embrace Lex’s struggle on his own terms yet for some reason you find the need to preach about him in Europe. I say you are appropriating Aboriginal suffering too, like the ARC, to establish your own relevance on your own terms, not to build the Aboriginal struggle.

    Your arrogant self righteousness about my comfort zone makes me cynical too, You know I have lived in Aboriginal society for 20 years which is a far less comfortable place to comment about the Aboriginal struggle than the European blogosphere.

  7. I used to march in the police pre-approved permit marches in 2006 too.

    I now find such exhibitions of powerlessness to be intolerable. It is not as if there is nothing else that can be done.

  8. Since the 2004 Palm Island death in custody there have been many other deaths in custody.

    Lex was one of about 6 people who Have been gaoled over the so-called riot.

    Every day Murris are fast tracked into gaol based on the racist lies of police.

    Unfortunately the community protest against these things has been a simple knee jerk reaction to high profile flashpoints.

    After Danny Yock was killed there was a huge reaction, bigger than the Mulrunji campaign. There were huge marches and the gate of Parliament house was even torn down at a protest.

    The Brisbane Murri community at the time said that there is no use in getting the Criminal Justice Comission (as it was called then) to investigate the death as it would just be a white wash, the community was demanding action in real terms, not another investigation,

    The Aboriginal legal service did not heed the wishes of the community and participated in an enquiry which was, as predicted, a white wash.

    The protests died down until the next flashpoint. Nothing changed.

    The Royal Comission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and the Queensland Premiers Indigenous Women’s Task force into community violence have made a range of recomendationas as to what should be done – decriminalisation of alcoholism, strengthen culture and connection to land, Aboriginal police, reinforcement of customary law, alternatives to prison in particular Aboriginal community programs, jobs, education and health.

    All of these sensible solutions have been ignored by the political left just as much as governments have ignored them. Like the governments, the left only reacts to flashpoints. Like the governments, the left seems not to be able to articulate any response other than investigations and reports.

    Everytime there is a high profile death in custody the same futile cycle is again embarked upon with predictable non-results.

    If nothing changes then nothing changes.

  9. Write of life
    the pious said
    forget the past
    the past is dead.
    But all I see
    in front of me
    is a concrete floor
    a cell door
    and John Pat.

    Agh! tear out the page
    forget his age
    thin skull they cried
    that’s why he died!
    But I can’t forget
    the silhouette
    of a concrete floor
    a cell door
    and John Pat.

    The end product
    of Guddia law
    is a viaduct
    for fang and claw,
    and a place to dwell
    like Roebourne’s hell
    of a concrete floor
    a cell door
    and John Pat.

    He’s there – where?
    there in their minds now
    deep within,
    there to prance
    a sidelong glance
    a silly grin
    to remind them all
    of a Guddia wall
    a concrete floor
    a cell door
    and John Pat.

    From ‘John Pat and other poems‘ by Jack Davis (1917 – 2000)
    (Guddia: Kimberley term for white man)

  10. ‘Wait!’ our wise leaders say
    ‘Due process will win the day.’

    Coppers listen
    while life runs out

    “Cameron Doomadgee
    lay on the floor
    As Hurley asked:
    ‘Do you want more?'”

    Later in court
    I asked Syd
    ‘Was that the step
    the brother fell through?’

    His whisper a shout in my ear:
    ‘Yes! It’s the murderer’s door!’

    “Cameron Doomadgee
    lay on the floor
    As Hurley asked:
    ‘Do you want more?'”

    So Lex Wotton
    wanted to know
    what they reap
    will they sew?

    Lex could hear
    cries through that door
    He listened to what
    Roy Bramwell saw:

    “Cameron Doomadgee
    lay on the floor
    As Hurley asked:
    ‘Do you want more?'”

    ‘Come on people, we can’t accept this’
    In his grief, he took up shovel
    For Lex, enough to convict
    For Hurley, enough to acquit.

    ‘Wait!’ our wise leaders say
    ‘Due process will win the day’,
    But was that the step
    the brother fell through?

    “Cameron Doomadgee
    lay on the floor
    As Hurley asked:
    ‘Do you want more?'”

    That day in 2004
    when Mulrunji departed
    through that murdering door.

    Ian Curr, November 2008
    with thanks to Uncle Jack Davis (1917 – 2000)

  11. Ok,

    I don;t sign petitions because I don’t vote. If you vote and sign petitions this seems like a good one to sign,
    To paraphrase the old Judy Small song the worst thing it because you can do little to do nothing at all at this time, short of sitting on your ass and attacking people who are trying to do something from aposition of inactivity…if you’ve got a better idea lead the charge, go for it!

    “As for cynicism, I am indeed very cynical about your adoption of the cause”

    hardly an adoption I’m 12,000 miles away moved to repsond and as you can see by recent signatories on the petition folks in Ire/Scot/England have learnt of Lex’s situation through my repsonse. It’s not a lot but it’s something at this time and hopefully can provide a base for practical solidarity with Lex and family in his upoming period of incarceration.

    “of Lex Wotton considering your rejection of the sovereignty of the Mirrar at the Jabiluka blockade and ”

    John Jabiluka is over 10 years ago move on, you stayed home, we went, some of us went to jail, resisting the mine, we shut it down, some of course used as a profile lifter and are now in Fed government open new uranium mines elsewhere. Go figure!

    “your public condemnation of Aboriginal leaders. You clearly do not embrace Lex’s struggle on his own terms yet for some reason you find the need to preach about him in Europe. I say you are appropriating Aboriginal suffering too, like the ARC, to establish your own relevance on your own terms, not to build the Aboriginal struggle. ”

    ….I’m really not that ambitious or equipped to aspire to the agenda you put forth here!

    “Your arrogant self righteousness about my comfort zone makes me cynical too, You know I have lived in Aboriginal society for 20 years which is a far less comfortable place to comment about the Aboriginal struggle than the European blogosphere.”

    Don’t know where you lived for the last 20…the question for all of us is have we given too little or taken too much wherever we reside. You dwell on that one Johnno and I’ll do likewise.

    Meanwhile best wishes to all reaching out to Les and all prisoners.

  12. This question of solidarity arises again.

    Of what use is it for people in Australia or overseas to proclaim solidarity, except for those people to feel better about themselves? What happens other than them expressing an opinion in public? How does this proclaimation of opinion assist the Aboriginal struggle, Lex Wotton or Palm Island?

    Who benefits from the heartfelt poems?

    I hate to sound too Marxist but unless the objective forces of history are somehow affected by our action, then outlets for moral outrage are just another opiate distracting people from real action, organisation and power.

    The treaty now link I posted above includes details of how non-Aboriginal supporters can engage in meaningfull action with Aboriginal Australia. It is of course not the only way or the only program of action, it is just one way.

    The treaty circles in the past has run programs as alternatives to imprisonment as well as programs in prison based on the recommendations of the Royal commission into deaths in custody. It is at present supporting limited programs for young murries in youth detention centres. It needs much material support to extend these programs again.

    The essence of the Treaty provess and the Cultural Heritage Education program that it is putting together involves community and political organisation, empowerment within Aboriginal methodologies and processes and gives participants – prisoners, outside Murries and non-Aboriginal supporters a thourough grounding in the spirituality and methodology of customary law as a historical force (not a passive religion).

    The treaty circles is based on Minjerriba (Stradbroke Island) and is supporting the use and occupation of Nunuccal land by Noonucal families with or without officilal white permission. Oodgeroos claiming of her home “Moongalba” where she is now buried is the model for real landrights without white permission or legislation.

    The treaty process is involved in developing legal challenges to white authority based on Aboriginal sovereignty, not to prove a point in the white courts but to create a legal buffer for the exercise of customary law on the ground (The High court has proclaimed a blanket extinguishment of customary law).

    Stop talking shit.

    Get real.

    To those who are morally outraged by what is going on, do not be content with symbolism and tokenism. Give money or labour to Aboriginal agendas directly rather than building white movements to whinge to the government to legislate more niceley towards Aboriginal people.

  13. Hello John,

    I find your comment ‘Who benefits from the heartfelt poems?’ strange, especially coming from an artist.

    Why shouldn’t artists paint their struggle with poems, colours, etching, screenprints and clay?

    Surely these arts have a role as much as money or labour?

    Surely that is what the poems ‘John Pat‘ and ‘Mulrunji‘ attempt to do.

    And I thought you were proposing broader engagement in the struggle?

    Ian Curr

  14. Kia Ora John T

    I agree with you, there seems a general reluctance for the white left to decolonise their thoughts and actions in supporting Aboriginal Struggle.
    I would suggest they look for good models of Settlers Supporting Indigenous Sovereignty that are being discussed and acted upon in Canada & NZ.

  15. Ian,

    Art is my escape and refuge in a fucked up world, it is a therapy for me, it is self indulgent and egotistical but it feels good. I do not pretend it is revolutionary – unless it is used in the context of propaganda in a campaign with real political objectives.

    One day I hope to sell a few more paintings, at that stage my art may well become a political economic force, but at this stage that is just as much a creative fantasy as the art itself.

    As un-aesthetic as I find Socialist realism, it is at least created to reinforce a political and economic strategy.

    What is the political and economic strategy of the Free Lex Wotton/Mulrunji/N.T. Intervention movement that seems to have coagulated (in Bris at least) under the banner of the Aboriginal Rights Coalition?

  16. Art is not inherently political. It is not inherently anything and only takes its social meaning from its context, from the frame to the gallery to the social/economic/political framework.

    Even aboriginal art is this way, it only has meaning in context of the land and law.

  17. Hey Ana,

    That is a great link as an example of a proper way to tackle the issues.

    Such orgainisations existed in Australia too, in the 1980s, in particular around the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane in 1982 and the Bicentenary in 1988. However since then, this mode of organisation seems to have been largely replaced by ANTAR’s assimilationist pooling of white ignorance and issueing of wishy washy media releases on the one hand and on the other the addition of dot points to the canon of slogans of the Marxist left and its perpetual regurgitation of the flavour of the month cycle of rallies and pickets – all serving to expound on and promote the European, eugenics inspired concept of history and reality of Marx and Lenin, the later who himself was responsible for the genocide of millions of indigenous people in Russia.

    Theresa Creed and myself are giving a workshop on the Oodgeroo Treaty Circles in Melbourne later this month. I will put the details up here when I get them.


  18. cool look forward to meeting and yarning with you face to face.

    Mauri Ora

  19. International Day of Action Free Lex Wotton NOW

    Alice Springs

    The whole world is watching Australia Free Lex NOW

    Much Love and Respect to the Indigenous Peoples standing in Solidarity with Lex that are facing state repression themselves

  20. Note that this is part of an International day of Action Called by Lex’s family members and coincides with the day that Lex Wotton is scheduled to have a sentence hearing in Townsville,November 7th, though in London they has their demo today

    forgot to include this in the above

  21. International Day of Action Free Lex Wotton NOW [Press Release]

    Friday November 7th “Free Lex Wotton” rallies called around the
    country and the world.

    Melbourne rally:

    Friday 7th November 2008
    cnr William and Lonsdale Sts, Melbourne

    International day of Action called to coincide with the day that Lex Wotton is scheduled to have a sentence hearing in Townsville.

    On Friday 24th October an all white jury found Lex Wotton, an Aboriginal man from Palm Island, guilty of ‘rioting with destruction’for his involvement in the 2004 Palm Island uprising. On November 26th2004 the people of Palm Island set fire to the local police station, court house and police barracks after a pathologist’s report claimedthat the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee, a 36 year old local, in police custody a week earlier was an ‘accident’.

    Mulrunji died in a police cell, one hour after he had been arrested for being drunk. He suffered massive internal injuries, including a ruptured spleen, four broken ribs and a ‘liver that had been ‘almost cleaved in two’ from a huge compressive force.’

    The officer who arrested him, Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, claimed that Mulrunji had fallen on stairs. A coroner’s inquest found that Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley was responsible for Mulrunji’s death, as
    the injuries were consistent with a beating. However, a court found Hurley not guilty for manslaughter. He has since been promoted and is an Inspector on the Gold Coast.

    In comparison Lex Wotton is now facing a life sentence in prison. He is being held in prison until his next court appearance in the Townsville District Court today.

    International Day of Action Free Lex Wotton NOW – rallies will be held in

    Brisbane, Sydney, Alice Springs, Melbourne, Auckland, London, Bolivia,Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Sweden

    The rally in Melbourne is endorsed by Lex’s family, and it is has an Aboriginal Sovereignty focus to show solidarity with Lex and to continue the struggle for Indigenous Self Determination & Sovereignty.

    We will support Lex, his family and the Palm Island Mob, with culture, ceremony,deadly speakers, & music, Lex’s family requested solidarity, calm and dignity and that’s what we intend to give Lex and his family,
    all over the world on the7th of November

    The whole world is watching Australia, Free Lex Wotton NOW!

    For more information contact: freelexwotton(*)
    Call: 0421 979 694

    We pay our respect to elders past and present and acknowledge that this gathering takes place on unceeded Wurundjeri land.

  22. Melbourne treaty workshop……

    Urban Seed invite you to join us for

    “Living on Aboriginal Land”
    A workshop with Baganan Kurityityin Theresa Creed and John Tracey

    This workshop challenges non-Aboriginal participants to explore the relevance of concepts such as land rights, native title, sovereignty, reconciliation, treaty, self-determination, Aboriginal deaths in custody, customary law, traditional owner etc. to their own life on this country.
    It explores ways in which non-Aboriginal people can support Aboriginal Australia.
    The workshop offers no easy answers, only difficult questions.

    6pm, Tuesday November 25th
    @ “The Den” 116 Little Bourke St. Melbourne
    (between Russell St. And Exhibition St. on the north side of the street)

    More Info

  23. Rebekah Copas says:

    Good on the Urban Seed mob for that endeavour. I believe that many non-Aboriginal Australians, really want to learn more about Aboriginal culture, but are afraid to ask. Furthermore, many Aboriginal people are very proud of the cultural strength retained today, and want to teach aspects of it, but have been conditioned into feeling afraid of those lessons being undermined, misinterpreted, and undervalued.

    White people will always need to learn to bear with acknowledgement of their own internally held social responsibilities for what sorts of transactions around race are happening in this country, before being capable of truly learning to value Aboriginal culture. Its a hurdle that is worth the effort to overcome, for us white fellows to confront our own fears of ourselves as whites. After those difficult questions which result, are swallowed, even a white fellows brain can become receptive to being reconditioned into the patterns of Aboriginal cultural practise, and in those patterns, we need no longer be burdens, but can be real participants in cultural revival.

    I’ll be at my youngest son’s music concert here in Brisbane the night of 25th, but I want to urge any Melbourne folk considering attending the Urban Seed workshop, to go for it.

  24. Write of life
    the pious said
    forget the past
    the past is dead.
    But all I see
    in front of me
    is a concrete floor
    a cell door
    and John Pat.

    — Jack Davis

    Last night’s (4 April 2011) Australian Story on the ABC made a hero/celebrity of the lawyer, John Quigley, who got off the 6 cops who murdered John Pat.

    How did the ALP reward this lawyer, Quigley? – they made him the shadow attorney general.

    JIM MCGINTY, FORMER WA ATTORNEY-GENERAL: John Quigley took up cudgels, not on the side of right, but for the people who were paying him, and he used all of his skills to achieve an acquittal for them, or no charges to be laid against them. It resulted in a grave injustice to particularly the family of John Pat who died, and to the Aboriginal people in Western Australia and then led to, in part, to the whole inquiry into Aboriginal deaths in custody.

    — Australian Story Transcript

    Shame on the ABC for making this paid accomplice into a celebrity.

    How civilised!

    And you (the ABC) dare to make judgements on Aborignal people.

    Ian Curr

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