Direct Action Fund Appeal: Help fight racism

In a surprising turn of affairs, the Queensland Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) confirmed on June 18 that it was commencing two separate investigations in relation to the death in custody in 2004 of Palm Island man Mulrunji Doomadgee. A report released by the CMC noted that it will investigate compensation claims made by previously exonerated officer Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley, who was responsible for Mulrunji’s death, as well as matters surrounding the initial police investigation.

The CMC report condemned the police investigations into Mulrunji’s death and will also investigate findings from the coronial inquest held in May which noted that Hurley colluded with another officer and altered his evidence after becoming aware of a witness statement. The CMC has recommended that at least six police officers involved in the investigation of Mulrunji’s death undergo disciplinary procedures.

Hurley received over $100,000 in state funds from three separate compensation claims for alleged loss of property from fires that destroyed the local police station and residence. In addition to this, the Queensland Police Union provided an undisclosed amount of money through a Queensland Police Union Palm Island fund. While the inquiries and legal procedures surrounding Mulrunji’s death were underway, Hurley was transferred to a comfortable Gold Coast post where he owns a house and beach-side unit. Meanwhile, no-one on Palm Island has received a scrap of compensation or justice in any form for the life taken by the corrupt Queensland police force.

The circumstances surrounding Mulrunji’s death — the lies, collusion and corruption is nothing new for the police. They have long been the central tool in the brutalisation and dispossession of indigenous communities. The racist attitudes of these police forces reflect the racist traditions and history of capitalist Australia.

There is another tradition and history in Australia though — one of struggle and solidarity with indigenous rights, with the rights of refugees and migrants and national liberation and human rights movements overseas. Direct Action, as it was conceived in the 1970s, was born out of this tradition of struggle, in solidarity with the people of Vietnam and the social movements that exploded across the globe, threatening to overturn the rotten capitalist system in many countries. We need your help to build the likes of such a movement again. Please consider making a donation to the Direct Action fund appeal and help us reach our $35,000 target by the end of this year. So far we have raised $17,792.54 thanks to our supporters. You can make a donation by sending a cheque or money order to Direct Action, Suite 72, 65 Myrtle Street, Chippendale 2008 or by visiting “Donate” at www.directaction.org.au.