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34424Re: "Howard's land policies like Hitler's"

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  • bobgould987
    Oct 5 7:46 PM
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      By Bob Gould

      A certain amount of common sense has broken out, happily, in the
      discussion of the event surrounding the coroner's report on the death
      on Palm Island.

      Greg Adler's pretty well-informed lawyer's angle seems to be
      reasonable, and even Ratbag Radio Riley has been forced to calm down
      and discuss the events in more or less, for him, rational political
      terms, having got the initial crazed abuse of me off his chest.

      Riley gives a reasonably rational account of the efforts of Sam Watson
      and other Brisbane Murris who support the demands of the Palm Island

      I support the demands of the Palm Island community, and if the local
      Labor member of parliament, who it must be noted, depends on a large
      vote on Palm Island, wants quicker action by Beattie, I support that too.

      Serious readers will note that the Palm Island community, the local
      Labor MP and Sam Watson don't appear to be using the DSP's crazy
      rhetoric about scabs. What they are doing is trying to influence the
      outcome of the process by presenting demands and agitating, and in
      general I support that agitation.

      Sam Watson, for example, told the World Today: The way in which the
      coroner "administered the inquest and the courtesy and professionalism
      that she showed to witnesses and people involved and the findings that
      she handed down yesterday has absolutely restored the faith and
      confidence that Aboriginal people had in justice system".

      "Aboriginal people now on Palm Island and across Queensland now really
      do feel they can take their complaints to the judicial system and they
      can receive real redress, and at the end of the day, real justice. And
      that is a massive step forward for reconciliation right across the
      state and right across the nation."

      Perhaps that's putting too much faith in the Queensland justice
      system, but it's a world away from the Dixon-Riley rhetoric about
      scabs, and it is an attempt to influence the political process in an
      entirely sensible way.

      On balance I'm convinced by Adler's general point that, properly
      handled, removal of the copper probably wouldn't prejudice the legal
      case. I do have one misgiving, however, which I don't lay down as a
      matter of holy writ, and that concerns the general principle of due

      Many years ago I was entirely convinced, and I haven't changed my
      view, that jury trials were one of the great conquests of the struggle
      for democracy in English-speaking countries, and that socialists
      should defend and protect jury trials and due process.

      The political point is that summary justice by magistrates, judges and
      politicians, tends to enforce the interests of the ruling class of the
      day, whereas juries of ordinary people, usually end up deciding on the
      balance of probabilities, and often are influenced by class factors.

      A striking current example of the difference between juries and
      summary justice is the courageous decision of an ordinary Scottish
      jury in favour of Tommy Sheridan versus News Limited. That jury
      managed to work out who they thought was telling more of the truth.

      Even in the Palm Island case, due process, liberty of the subject, the
      presumption of innocence and the right to a jury trial are part of the
      scenario. On balance, it's in the interests of us all that even a
      copper in this situation should not have his rights abrogated, despite
      the fact that, as we know, indigenous people routinely have their
      rights abrogated in many ways.

      Summary justice benefits the ruling class, ultimately. Look at
      Guantanamo Bay and Bush's vile military tribunals, so-called.

      Having said all that, this Greg Adler's summary of the likely legal
      situation is sufficient for the moment, and I don't claim anything
      like his detailed legal knowledge.
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