Indigenous rights

About 20 people attended the launch on February 15 of a campaign aimed at countering the "law and order race to the bottom" in the lead-up to Victoria's state election in November.

The "Stop failing our kids" campaign, initiated by the Indigenous Social Justice Association (ISJA), aims to get thousands of people to send postcards to Victorian Labor Premier Daniel Andrews.

About 200 relatives and supporters of the late Patrick Fisher gathered on February 11 to commemorate his life and hold a march calling for justice.

Fisher died on February 7 while fleeing from police who had kicked down the door of his girlfriend's home. He was wanted on outstanding warrants for minor stealing offences.

Police claim he slipped while trying to climb down to another unit and fell from the thirteenth floor balcony of the Joseph Banks Tower in the Waterloo public housing estate.

The Wangan and Jagalingou (W&J) traditional owners of the land on which Adani has approval to build its Carmichael coalmine are concerned that the Queensland government will act to extinguish their native title rights prior to a Federal Court hearing scheduled for March 12–15.

This follows the decision by the Federal Court to not extend an interim injunction, which had been in place since December 18, restraining the Queensland government from extinguishing native title under the terms of the purported Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA).

For almost 14 years we have repeated the same sad story of the death of TJ Hickey.

The young Kamilaroi man was happily riding his bike in Waterloo on February 14, 2004, totally unaware of the tragedy that was to come. A police car driven by then Constable Hollingsworth, started to pursue him. On the corner of Phillip and George streets, a police vehicle hit the bike and TJ was catapulted and impaled on the spiked iron fence.

Socialist Alliance’s Indigenous Rights spokesperson Sam Watson considers there has been “a definite strengthening and expansion of the Black political struggle”. Watson was referring to the record-breaking attendance of tens of thousands of people at Invasion Day rallies around the country on January 26.

“You can't really pinpoint this phenomenon geographically or by age or gender,” he said.

The New Year is in full swing, and if there is one thing I am really looking forward to in 2018, it is the long overdue introduction of “rank socialism” in this nation.

This appears to be on the agenda to go by the dark warnings offered up last year by former prime minister, jogger and war-criminal-at-large John Howard on the matter of a royal commission into the banking sector.

[The following is an abridged version of Gary Foley’s speech to the huge Melbourne Invasion Day on January 26.]

Look at this! This takes me back a long way. I think you’ve certainly outdone last year. This is a great crowd and I congratulate those who organised it. I haven’t seen a crowd like this since the 1970s in the heyday of the Aboriginal political movement.

On January 24, Victorian Liberal opposition leader Matthew Guy said “unpatriotic councils” that do not use January 26 to celebrate would be sacked. He was specifically threatening the Moreland, Darebin and Yarra councils, which have shifted celebrations and citizenship ceremonies away from January 26.

The enormous — some estimate 60,000-strong — Invasion Day rally in Melbourne was a fitting rejoinder to the conservative campaign pushed by the mainstream media and politicians in the lead-up to January 26.

The right-wing Institute of Public Affairs released a poll on January 24 that, unsurprisingly, found just 11% of those surveyed want the date changed.

If national unity and harmony are the goals for Australia’s national day, then January 26 is no longer, if it ever was, fit for purpose. It does not meet its objective and, no matter how much it “disappoints” Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, we need to re-think Australia Day.

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