on thursday 13 november, 2014 some 30 to 40 members of the bowraville 3 families attended nsw parliament house, the legislative council especially, for the tabling of the law and justice committee enquiry into the effects of the 3 murders of the children on the families involved and the communities involved. i was initially dismissive of the enquiry believing that such a process would only once more place the families under a social microscope for very little outcome. thankfully, i was proven wrong and a public apology has been given to david shoebridge at the collarenebri rally/march for the 4th anniversary of mark mason’s his death by the nsw police who shot him.the report’s 15 recommendations allow for a possible springboard to a full and final court case by combining all 3 of the murders and the known killer brought to justice. the link to the recommendations is http://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/committee.nsf/0/358F671C05A63CCBCA257D87007D17E7?open&refnavid=CO4_1
the tabling of the report in the legislative council was a salve to the wounds of the families. not a cure but a hope for the final legal solution. most of the politicians, from all parties, paid their respects and homage to the family members present and to jubelin and other long term supporters. david shoebridge of the nsw greens was unanimously congratulated as the father of the report, as was his right. all the politicians in the council stood for a minutes silence as did all in the galleries. it was, indeed, a moment of honour to the 3 slain children and a concrete offer of support to the family members present and their supporters.
the 15 recommendations fall roughly into three categories, the first attempting to ensure that the racist and insulting treatment by police during the initial period of no serious action being taken for some years by the local police. one of the recommendations re-raises the royal commission recommendations that police and others urgently participate in cross-cultural awareness training to better improve their interactions and face-to-face attitudes when dealing with aboriginal complaints and/or requests for assistance. we can only hope that the nsw police and others is accepted with a more honest attitude than it was in june, 1991.
the second, and perhaps most importantly, is the legal recommendations. they recommend that the government work to make legislated changes to the legal meaning of the word ‘adduce.’ this word and its meaning covers a semantic heaven. solicitors and barristers can argue the true meaning of the word whilst the judiciary can argue the reverse and all can be considered to be right. basically the legal semantic being used against the 3 families is that the argument put forward by jubelin, among others, is that the 3 cases need to be combined and put forward in court as one case involving the same offender in each case. it is stated that this act cannot be done yet it was done to combine several cases involving the murders of ivan milat who was found guilty in each case. why milat can be combined and the 3 bowraville cases cannot is yet another of life’s legal mysteries that the parliament of nsw must address.
the other legal recommendation suggests that when and if the 3 families apply once again to the nsw attorney-general, now brad hazzard, then the decision as to whether the cases should go to court not be made by the a-g but by an independent retired judge or a retired legal personality. this is a tactic used by all governments across australia when they wish to be hands and hearts free from any decision. the qld beattie govt used such a tactic when they hired the eminent legal from nsw, sir anthony street, review and decide whether then s/s chris hurley should go to court for killing mulrunji doomadgee 10 years ago tomorrow, 19/11/2004. his decision was a resounding ‘yes.’ this is a toss-up and really depends on who the a-g selects for the task.
the remaining health/welfare recommendations deal with the northern health and mental health services are retained and further funded. memorials are also to be erected and maintained.
the one recommendation that should have been included was the call for a parliamentary apology to the three families for what they had been put through by police and judicial incompetence but the 3 families are calling for this along with the plea that all 15 of the recommendations be fully adopted by the politicians in the legislative assembly. several speakers in the upper house warned of the absolute need to accept and implement all 15 recommendations and, of course, that is true.
on thursday 20/11 isja will be holding a rally outside of parliament house to reinforce that family call on behalf of ms. muriel walker-craig, mother of 16 year old colleen walker-craig and ms. barbara greenup-davies, aunt of 4 year old evelyn greenup. come join us in a show of solidarity and the call for justice to occur. finally
it is our understanding that the report has been sent to the assembly but nothing has been done to proceed the matter. this could be that the mike baird government will, properly in some view, wait until the election in march next year before addressing the report and its recommendations. isja will continue to monitor the progress of the report post the election outcome. we will argue that the bowraville 3 families must be finalised during 2015. justice demands that this be done. the 3 families have waited and suffered enough and closure must occur. colleen disappeared on 13/9/90, evelyn disappeared on 4/10/90 whilst clinton speedy-duroux on 1/2/91
to not allow a full legal completion of this collective horror and trauma will not only be seen as abject cruelty but a case of human rights abuse.
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