Stolen Wages stay stolen – WA’s turn

It’s hard to know what to say on this issue that hasn’t already been said, but the blithely blatant injustice is still hard to stomach – I can only imagine the fury many Aboriginal must feel about this. Almost five years ago I wrote here about the report of the Senate Committee Inquiry I helped…

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Quandmooka Native Title claim recognised … at last

In my very First Speech to the Senate back in 1997, I praised the Native Title negotiations then taking place between the Quandamooka people, the Traditional Owners of Stradbroke Island, and what was then the Redland Shire Council.  I mentioned it as a positive example of what Native Title could deliver for our entire community,…

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Improving our country’s Constitution

The moves to recognise Australia’s First Peoples in our nation’s Constitution are starting to gather pace.  The federal government has pledged to hold a referendum on this by the time of the next election – that is, within 2 years – which is not a lot of time to build community awareness and understanding of…

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Wild Rivers

Contention over Queensland’s  Wild Rivers legislation has been bubbling along for quite a while now. Unfortunately, as with many issues which become polarised, each “side” is focused on defending their position, which has meant that some important underlying issues are not getting the attention they deserve. I’ve just had a piece on this topic published…

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New book on Palm Island’s history

The latest inquest into the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee in police custody on Palm Island – now well over five years ago – has concluded.  Once again Mulrunji’s family and the wider community will wait for findings to be published – just as they still await the publication of the report by the Crime and…

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Palm Island Inquest Resumes (again)

It is well over five years since Mulrunji Doomagee died in police custody on Palm Island, his ribs broken and his liver nearly sliced in two.  Previous coronial inquests and trials have wound a tortuous path, with various assertions about the cause of death ranging from the consequences of a “complicated fall” to suggestions Mulrunji’s…

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Report on the Pacific & climate change forum

Last night I attended the public forum I wrote about here, featuring Pacific Island peoples speaknig about the impacts of climate change on their homelands, health and cultures. It was very well attended and the speakers were engaging and enlightening. I’ve published a piece about it over at Crikey at this link. If for some…

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The debate on changing Australia Day

The calls by Australian of the Year Mick Dodson, supported by many others, for a debate on whether to shift Australia Day away from 26th January, has produced some predictable howls of outrage and abuse. But it is not only Indigenous Australians who feel that 26th January is not the best day to celebrate our unity…

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Stolen generations struggle continues

Last week I attended the launch in Melbourne of a report released by the organisation Stolen Generations Victoria.  The report is called Unfinished Business, which is the same name given to a report from a Senate Committee I initiated into the Stolen Wages issue.  This is a reminder that all these injustices are interlinked.  To me,…

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What COAG meant for Indigenous Australians

The headlines after COAG focused on health and education and the overall size of the money handed out (with the usual uncertainty about how much was ‘new’ money and how much had already been promised or committed).  Jon Altman from ANU has written a good rundown on the various COAG agreements which relate to Indigenous…

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Palm Island death – 4 years on

November 19 marks four years since the notorious wrongful arrest and death in police custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee on Palm Island. Many Aboriginal men have been arrested, charged, exiled from their homes and jailed in the four years since.  Meanwhile, investigations into allegations regarding actions and investigations by police have yet to be completed and…

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Review of NT Intervention

There are lots of coverage and comment about the report by the independent group reviewing the Northern Territory intervention.  This is one of the more important amongst the many reviews set in train by the federal government. I hope the government is able to ignore the politics and focus on the substance of the report….

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Stolen wages campaigner passes on

Last week I attended a funeral in Townsville for Yvonne Butler, who was one of the state’s most dedicated campaigners on the Stolen Wages issue.  I have written a number of times on this blog about the issue and the  poor record of the Queensland state government. Whilst the response from government has been far…

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