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John Passant

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April 2014



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Lex Wotton to break his silence at Marxism 2014

Lex Wotton

Lex Wotton, the heroic Palm Islander who was jailed after leading protests against racist police violence, is set to break a long silence says Red Flag.

He has confirmed his intention to speak at the Marxism 2014 conference in Melbourne next weekend, 17-20 April.

In 2008 Wotton was sentenced to seven years’ prison, reduced to six for time already served, for his role in a 2004 protest. The protest occurred after Mulrunji Doomadgee was killed in the Palm Island police station. During the protest, the police station and courthouse were burned to the ground.

Wotton was released on parole in July 2010, but onerous conditions barred him from speaking to the media about his case.

Standing against murder

On 19 November 2004, Mulrunji Doomadgee suffered injuries consistent with those of a car crash victim – four broken ribs, a ruptured liver and a ruptured spleen – in the Palm Island watchhouse.

It was the 147th death of an Aboriginal person in custody since 1990.

The local community was told on 26 November that Mulrunji had “probably tripped on a step”. His grieving friends, relatives and neighbours could see that a cover up was in motion.

A furious crowd of several hundred people marched to the cop shop and courthouse. They threw rocks at the buildings, and yelled out to the police cowering inside: “Racists!” “Captain Cook c*nts!”

Inside, the cops counted their bullets and discussed shooting their way out. Later, they laughed and joked among themselves. They played for time and left in a group. No one was injured.

After the police had left, protesters set fire to the station, the courthouse and the sergeant’s house, as payback for Mr Doomadgee’s killing.

In response, the Queensland government sent the anti-terrorist squad, attack dogs, plainclothes detectives and extra police officers to arrest the alleged perpetrators. The main target was Lex Wotton. He was arrested and tasered in a dawn raid by more than 50 cops.

Wotton, a community leader, plumber and father of four, has previously described how the police worked to build up the non-existent case against him, leaning on his co-accused and on people who weren’t even at the rally to make statements accusing him of arson and all kinds of other crimes.

He told a meeting before his trial: “I’m the scapegoat… There was outrage from the community [over Mulrunji’s death]”. The community’s protest at yet another young man dead at the hands of the police was maligned. Wotton was found guilty of rioting with destruction.

Cops off the hook

Christopher Hurley, the cop who killed Mulrunji, was the first police officer in 20 years to face trial for the death of an Aboriginal person in custody. Deputy state coroner Christine Clements found that Hurley had fatally assaulted Doomadgee. But a white judge and all-white jury in Townsville eventually acquitted him of manslaughter and assault. He received $100,000 in compensation and in 2008 successfully appealed to have the results of the Coronial Inquiry overturned.

Thirty-four police officers who were on Palm Island at the time of the protests received awards or commendations for “bravery”. They include Darryn Robinson, a detective and a mate of Hurley’s. Robinson was the person Hurley called when he realised Doomadgee was dead. He flew to Palm Island and ran the initial “investigation” into his mate. Robinson has admitted that he lied under oath at the inquest.

For years, Lex was prevented from speaking out. And the media have been reluctant to tell his story – and the story of Mulrunji. Now Lex is going to break the silence. Don’t miss it.

Lex will be speaking as part of a panel at Marxism 2014 opening night, 6:30 pm on Thursday 17 April. He will then speak at 4pm Saturday 19 April after a screening of The Tall Man – a documentary about the murder of Mulrunji Doomadgee.



Pingback from Lex Wotton to break his silence at Marxism 2014 | OzHouse
Time April 15, 2014 at 9:11 pm

[…] Apr 15 2014 by admin […]

Comment from Kay
Time April 16, 2014 at 8:49 am

Well, you’ll get Lex Wotton’s version of events – to set against the police version of events. Clearly the police version of Mulrunji’s death is very wobbly and has had to be changed several times. It seems the very heavy police officer, Chris Hurley, possibly fell on top of a drunken Mulrunji, or kneed him, rupturing his liver and spleen, causing his death – there is no solid evidence either way, it seems. The entire police investigation and subsequent actions reflected very poorly on the police officers in the area. Who knows how ‘factual’ Lex Wotton’s version will be.

But, at the end of the day, the real issue is alcohol, and the adverse effect it has on most indigenous communities – combined with very poor employment opportunities. I do not imagine that policing in such communities would be easy. Domestic violence is a huge problem, and this always proves to be difficult to manage – whether in ‘white’ or ‘black’ communities. I guess there is much room for debate re whether people should be arrested for being ‘drunk and disorderly’ if no one is being hurt by this drunken behaviour – I think this apparently excessive action by police probably led to the entire tragedy.

Comment from Kathryn
Time April 18, 2014 at 9:29 am

Alcoholism is a symptom of this degraded, maligned and disregarded indigenous culture. Aboriginal people, in Australia, are denied their own cultural life and are frequently prevented from participating fully in broader society due to racist attitudes based on ignorance, apathy, hatred and fear. Alcohol has as an adverse effect on all communities.

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