QUEENSLAND Premier Peter Beattie travelled to Palm Island
yesterday only to be snubbed by the family of Mulrunji
Doomadgee, the Aboriginal man who died in police custody there in
Mr Beattie's mission was to placate the community after the
decision last week by Director of Public Prosecutions Leanne Clare
not to charge Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley over Doomadgee's
Mr Doomadgee's de facto partner, Tracey Twaddle, and his sisters
refused to meet Mr Beattie after it became clear that he was not
going to order the DPP's ruling be reviewed.
"The family thought it was a waste of time to meet with him,"
the family's lawyer, Frederic Cassis, said.
"Their family member (was) killed two years ago
stands there is going to be no justice for them."
Addressing a fiery rally on Palm Island yesterday afternoon, Mr
Beattie repeatedly insisted he could not interfere in the judicial
process. But he hinted strongly that he thought Ms Clare should ask
for her decision to be reviewed.
"The Premier of the day shouldn't dictate to the Director of
Public Prosecutions who is charged," Mr Beattie said. But "if the
DPP wants to seek a review
she will have my full support to
Another lawyer acting for the Doomadgee family, Andrew Boe, said
the DPP had previously asked for an independent review of her
decision not to prosecute swimming coach Scott Volkers, who was
accused of sexual abuse.
Mr Boe was yesterday set to lodge an appeal against the DPP's
decision but said it should not be up to the family to try
to get "a just outcome".
The DPP's decision is at odds with the findings of deputy state
coroner Christine Clements, who in September found that Senior
Sergeant Hurley caused Mr Doomadgee's fatal injuries. The coroner
found that "Senior Sergeant Hurley lost his temper
Mulrunji whilst he was on the floor a number of times
there was no further resistance or indeed any speech or response
from Mulrunji. I conclude that these actions of Senior Sergeant
Hurley caused the fatal injuries."
Last week the DPP found that death was a "terrible accident" due
to a "complicated fall" in which a "crushing force to the front of
his abdomen" occurred when Mr Doomadgee and Senior Sergeant Hurley
fell together through the open door of the police station.
ALP federal president Warren Mundine vowed to start an
anti-apartheid-style campaign to ensure justice for Aboriginal
He said Mr Beattie had left the Palm Island community "with
nothing". "When you come here and say you can't do a thing, then
you must accept the cynicism and disbelief of the community," Mr
Mundine said. "You are a leader and you need to do something
because this will fester on. Justice needs to be done."
Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson, who also attended the Palm
Island rally, said "not one" indigenous person could be satisfied
with the DPP's decision.
A member of the Prime Minister's National Indigenous Council,
Wesley Aird, said he would support a civil disobedience
"If we can't rely on the law, then I think it's reasonable to
look at any other options," Mr Aird said. "When there are two sets
of rules and they are so blatantly flouted as in this case, then
something else has to be done to change this (situation)."
With ANNABEL STAFFORD, AGENCIES