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Justice for Mulrunji - and for all

This is the text of a leaflet that has gone out today as a response to the trial in Townsville of Chris Hurley for manslaughter.
Justice for Mulrunji - and for all

The struggle for justice for Palm Island man Mulrunji — killed on November 19, 2004, in a police watch-house from horrific injuries within one hour of being arrested — is historic.

The trial now taking place - the first ever Qld police officer to be charged with an Aboriginal death in custody - would never have taken place without the powerful movement that demanded justice. While State Premier Peter Beattie told the community to “respect the umpires decision” (the DPP original decision to lay no charges against Hurley), the Aboriginal community and supporters could not stand by and see another brother killed without a shred of justice.
Protests swept Qld and nationwide - from Palm Island to Brisbane to Innisfail & far beyond. Thousands signed petitions demanding Hurley be tried.

Prominent persons have also called for justice - from Col Dillon who resigned from the Qld public service in disgust, to rockband Powderfinger, who refer to the incident in their latest album. It was the massive public pressure that forced the Beattie government to agree to a review of the DPP’s decision, which ultimately found Hurley should face trial on manslaughter and assault charges.

Only struggle can win justice

It was grassroots struggle that won the trial of Hurley. But the Mulrunji case is only the tip of the iceberg (. We need a whole new politics to fundamentally reverse the injustice against the Indigenous population.

The Socialist Alliance has formed close working partnerships with key Aboriginal leaders and have supported major Aboriginal political initiatives - around the deaths in custody campaign, the struggle for land rights, for equal wages, the return of the stolen wages, and our struggle for secure, meaningful employment, housing, health care and
education....I’m a proud member of the Socialist Alliance, as well as a proud Aboriginal person committed to social justice and Aboriginal civil rights.”Sam Watson, Aboriginal activist & lead Socialist Alliance Qld Senate
candidate 2007.


Indigenous Australians - Shock facts
LIFE EXPECTANCY: Life expectancy 18 years lower than the Australian average. The rate of infant mortality is 3 times higher
IMPRISONMENT: 11 times more likely to be in prison. 2% of the population, yet Indigenous Australians make up 26% of the deaths in custody.
EMPLOYMENT: Three times more likely to be unemployed than non-Indigenous Australians. On Palm Island the unemployment rate is over 90%.
POVERTY: Average household income is 40% lower than the non-Indigenous average.
HOUSING: 6-times more likely to be homeless and 25-times more likely to be living with 10 or more people. While the average Australian house has 3.4 occupants, on Palm Island the average is 17 occupants.
STOLEN WAGES: Thousands of Aboriginal workers lost an estimated $500 million due to the Queensland government withholding wages. The Beattie Government has made an offer of $55 million as settlement - only a tiny
fraction of the stolen wages.
DEATHS IN CUSTODY: Since 1990, over 200 Indigenous people have died in custody. If the 1991 Royal Commission recommendations - including that custody be used as a last resort - were implemented, Mulrunji would be
alive today.

A people’s alternative to racism...
The Howard Coalition government has been the most anti-Indigenous in many decades - attacking landrights, abolishing ATSIC & denying real history as a “black armband view”. Yet the ALP has also massively failed
Aboriginal people - the Beattie State ALP government axed the Indigenous Affairs ministry; defending the DPP’s appalling decision re Mulrunji.
Racism is a divide and rule feature needed in a system where a wealthy few rule over the majority. Since invasion Aboriginal people were dispossessed through physical extermination or being forced on to reservations. Australia was built on stolen lands, the destruction of Aboriginal social organisation, suppression of Aboriginal language & culture, and denial of basic human rights. This is the basis for the racism that continues today.
Winning full Aboriginal rights requires the mobilisation of Aboriginal people, and the active support of the majority of the non-Aboriginal population - who are also suffering under Howard (through attacks on workers rights, public education and health, etc). This is what Socialist Alliance is about. We are proudly running Aboriginal activist Sam Watson as our lead Senate candidate in Qld.If you agree with this struggle against all injustice, and for an anti-racism, pro-people, pro-environment alternative - join us!

Socialist Alliance Indigenous Rights Charter
Socialist Alliance unconditionally recognises the sovereignty of Indigenous Nations and acknowledges the racist repression that continues to destroy their communities and denies them basic services. We demand:
* Recognise Indigenous Nations - negotiate a treaty.
* Compensate the Stolen Generations.
* Repeal the Native Title Act and abolish all racist land laws.
* Stop racist sentencing. Immediate implementation of the 339 Royal Commission recommendations from the 1991 Report into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
* End genocide by neglect - extend and improve indigenous health and other community needs through fully funded targeted services controlled by Indigenous Australians and their communities.
* Abolish work for the dole - employ all workers in Community
Development Employment Programs on locally negotiated award wages. Pay
back the decades of stolen wages in full.
* Defend and extend Indigenous programming on the ABC, SBS and community broadcasters; an end to the racist and destructive portrayal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, organisations and communities in some sections of the media.
* No to mainstreaming of Indigenous services. For a national, regionally based Indigenous policy and service delivery body to provide Indigenous control of Indigenous affairs.

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