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In defence of Jonno Sri

Councillor Jonno Sri from the Gabba Ward has been under fire this week for supporting the Debbing Creek mob defending their land. Developers hired armed police to try to get rid of the Debbing Creek First nations camp. Here is a response from Sam Watson speaking to the Courier Mail reporter. – Ed. WBT

Sam Watson defends Jonno Sri over Debbing Creek dispute

INDIGENOUS groups have backed Brisbane Councillor Jonathan Sri, dismissing criticism with a stark warning to the LNP Council, Labor and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad.

Cr Sri faced days of criticism in the media last week after leaving a phone message for State Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard in January where he falsely claimed to be one of her constituents to object to the controversial development at the former Deebing Creek Aboriginal mission site.

Aboriginal activist Sam Watson, who is chairman of Jagera Community Hall, based at Musgrave Park in Cr Sri’s Woolloongabba Ward, said Ms Howard’s complaint to the CEO of Brisbane City Council and the LNP council’s handling of the complaint, issuing Cr Sri a fine of $1334, was “absolutely” politically motivated.

He said The Greens were a serious threat to the LNP council in wards around Cr Sri’s Woolloongabba Ward and Ms Trad’s South Brisbane seat was “ground zero” at next year’s state election.

“We have a number of indigenous organisations in South Brisbane,” Mr Watson said.

“It is ground zero for the upcoming State Election in October next year because it is also the State electorate of the Deputy Premier Jackie Trad.”
In the 2017 state election the two candidate preferred result at South Brisbane was between Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and The Greens’ Amy MacMahon, who secured 46 per cent of the vote, less than 2000 votes from claiming the seat.

Mr Watson’s grandmother was placed at the Deebing Creek Mission in Ipswich as a child and he said development of the site had to be challenged.
He said the criticism of Cr Sri’s phone message was a “cheap shot, targeting a hard-working local government councillor”.

“Cr Sri is welcome to attend our community events and in a democratic society he is most welcome to speak out on behalf of issues that he feels strongly about.”

A blockade has been set up at the Deebing Creek Mission in an attempt to stop development.

A blockade has been set up at the Deebing Creek Mission in an attempt to stop development.

Deebing Creek Sovereignty Camp spokeswoman Lekina Thompson said AV Jennings had started preliminary construction works laying pipes in the area where the mission cemetery was located and praised Cr Sri’s intervention as the State Government was not listening to their concerns.
Ms Howard said Cr Sri was paid by the ratepayers of Brisbane to do a job and had no place interfering in a sensitive community issue in Ipswich.
“That (job) is to represent their issues in Brisbane City Hall, not fraudulently represent himself to a State MP,” she said.

“I think he did something that was incredibly immature and very much out of the realms of what people expect from an elected representative.”
Cr Sri said Aboriginal residents from Ipswich got in touch with his office because they felt they were not getting any local representation.

“This whole region of southeast Queensland is Aboriginal land and all of us, particularly elected representatives, need to be taking responsibility for helping undo past wrongs and continued injustices,” he said.”

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