Publishers Note: This is a post of an article from 1982 edition of the Tribune published by the Communist Party of Australia. The article calls for “readers … to write to the Attorney General to demand the inquiry into Eddie Murray’s death be reopened – a fitting way to respond to Australia Day – the 194th anniversary of the start of the imperialist invasion of Aboriginal Australia.”
Even though it may seem distant in time people are still making approaches to the NSW Attorney General about this crime. Here is the report by Ray Jackson in September 2014. Ray is from the Indigenous Justice Association. It describes a response by the current NSW Attorney General, Brad Hazzard at a meeting with Eddie’s sister, Anna Murray and her family:
“brad raised what he saw as three possible barriers to the case being re-opened and they were: one of the police officers has since died but it was raised that three still remain alive and must face justice; the case was 33 years old and it would be very difficult to find any evidence to assist in reaching a just conclusion.”
So here is the Tribune article dated 3 Feb 1982 by Bob Boughton.
A note to indigenous people, this article may contain images and words of people who are deceased.
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Who killed Eddie Murray?
SYDNEY: The Attorney-General should reopen investigations into the death of Eddie Murray who died last year in a police cell in the NSW cotton town of Wee Waa.
In December last year the coroner returned an open finding in the face of police claims that it was suicide. Now, Eddie’s family and friends in the Aboriginal community are determined to follow it through. They called for white support groups to get behind their demand at a small press conference in Glebe last Sunday.
This isn’t the first isolated case of an Aboriginal person meeting an end at the hands of the police,” Tiger Bayles declared. “If we keep this thing covered up’, we’re not going to let the people, my people, be free people, because they’re going to have this intimidation all the time” added Joe Flick.
At the heart of their struggle is the continuing fight against dispossess:: and exploitation. The Murray and the Flick families are in the firing line in Wee Waa because they refuse to give up. And they are trying raise the awareness of white people about what their struggle is.
The federal department of Aboriginal Affairs(DAA) appears work hand-in-hand with US and Australian-owned cotton companies to deny the Wee Waa people their land and their rights.
The people squatted at Tulladunna where they wanted to live while they worked the cotton.
“The DAA said it was flood-prone and instead, set up ·li caravan park at Pimbacla. Now anywhere between 200 and 500 people camp there with the barest facilities – not even an emergency pump to supply water when the main pump breaks down, Which it does. And when, on December 10, Joe Flick and several took water in there, they were summonsed for trespass. Arthur Murray- accused the DAA of doing because they thought we were causing trouble”.
The campers can’t collect Rain-water because of the pesticide Spray in the atmosphere. Not that means they escape being poisoned. The fields are sprayed while they work in them. They pay their union dues to the AWU (Australian Workers Union) but the nearest union rep is at Narrabri. They also have to pay $2/ day in transport costs to get to work, and another $30 /week as rent on their bit of ground.
Joe Flick says that the DAA have $180,000 to spend at Pimbaacla, maybe more, but they can’t even get an emergency pump. “And if there was an outbreak of hepatitis, the whole bloody town would kick up a stink, saying the blacks brought this in.”
On Thursday, the National Aboriginal Congress is sending a delegation to Wee Waa to investigate the situation. Future Tribunes will carry further reports on the people’s struggle. In the meantime, readers are urged to write to the Attorney General to demand the inquiry into Eddie Murray’s death be reopened – a fitting way to respond to Australia Day – the 194th anniversary of the start of the imperialist invasion of Aboriginal Australia.
Attorney-General’s Department, Goodsell Building, Chifley Square, Sydney 2000.
3 Feb 1982
by Bob Boughton
Tribune Joe Flick Eddie