The Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Alderman Graham Quirk, has done his council and the people of this city a disservice by his failure to seek a genuine accommodation with the traditional owners of Musgrave Park over the Tent Embassy.
In 2010, the then Lord Mayor, Campbell-Newman promised local elders a shrine to the warrior Dundalee who was hung by settlers near Post Office Square in Brisbane in the 19th century. To this day, the shrine to Dundalee has not been erected as promised by Campbell-Newman. Alderman Quirk should have followed through on that promise when he replaced Campbell-Newman. To my knowledge Alderman Quirk has not done this.
Now the Lord Mayor wishes to remove the Tent Embassy that signifies the attachment of Jagara / Yuggera people with Musgrave Park for over 60,000 years – a symbol of sovereignty over land never ceded to the settler.
For over 20 years both state and local government have stalled on the promise to establish a Cultural Centre in Musgrave Park.
People of Brisbane and residents of West End have been the beneficiaries of the good will of Yaggera traditional owners who have shared their land with all newcomers.
The Greek people of West End have celebrated Paniyiri at Musgrave Park for 40 years.
Now the Lord Mayor wishes to use that festival as an excuse to remove the Sovereign Embassy from the land of Yaggera ancestors of thousands of years. Quirk claims the site of the tent embassy should be removed to accomodate the amusement area and kiddies rides for Paniyiri. What a great sense Alderman Quirk has for the cultural significance of Musgrave Park!
Such shameless opportunism by the Lord Mayor of Brisbane should not be rewarded.
Alderman Quirk is using the Greek Festival to divide the community. It is control of natural resources that the Mayor is seeking — yet his council does not have legitimate claim over Musgrave Park.
It is the traditional owners who have shared their land with the people of Brisbane to the benefit of all – it is they alone who have claim to sovereignty over Musgrave Park.
And so it is their custodianship of the land that all should be recognised by all.
13 May 2012