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Issue #1931      September 7, 2020

Editorial

Injustice prevails against Bla(c)k deaths

Two weeks ago, two Indigenous families were let down, left without closure, as our judicial system failed to hold anyone to account for the deaths of their family members.

The family of Tanya Day were “‘devastated and angry’ that no criminal charges will be laid against the police officers involved in the case,” according to the ABC. In 2017, Day, a Yorta Yorta woman, who was asleep on a V/Line train to Melbourne was arrested by Victorian police for public drunkenness. She was placed in a cell in Castlemaine police station where she fell and hit her head on a wall, sustaining a serious head injury. Day’s death could have been “preventable,” according to a Victorian coroner, however, the officers involved failed to adequately check on her.

The decision by the prosecutors to not lay charges on the officers, says the family, was based on “a police investigation that we have said all along was flawed and lacked independence.”

The family of Tane Chatfield were also left with a series of non-answers after the inquest into his death was finalised. According to the ABC, the coroner found that he died of “intentionally self-inflicted injuries” (for more information about this Black death in custody see our editorial “Deaths in Custody” #1924). As a result of the findings, Deputy State Coroner Harriet Grahame recommended authorities undertake “a comprehensive audit of all cell hanging points at the Tamworth Correctional Centre and undertake urgent removal of any point identified” (ABC). The prison, however, is heritage-listed and thus the advice to remove these hanging points has been met with resistance because the exercise would be “expensive or difficult” – a sentiment perfectly encapsulating how Australia views the lives of Indigenous people: they are worth less than the renovation of a building.

Tony Abbott shows where his loyalties lay

Former Liberal Prime Minister Tony Abbott will be appointed to the British Board of Trade which will advise “Boris Johnson and trade secretary, Liz Truss, on future trade deals and will be a vital component of the UK’s future post-Brexit trade strategy” (Guardian UK). Many are perplexed by the choice, with “David Lawrence from the Trade Justice Movement sa[ying]: ‘Hiring Tony Abbott to one of the top jobs in UK trade policy is a baffling choice’ ” (ibid). More concerning than hiring a man who had little to do with the trade agreements during his own tenure as Prime Minister is the fact that our former leader is now working for another government! Furthermore, according to the SBS, based on figures they crunched, Abbott’s pension is roughly $300,000 and is likely to increase. Thus, we will effectively be continuing to pay this man this unseemly figure as he works in the service of Johnson’s government, essentially committing borderline treason.

Always the staunch Monarchist, working within the British government highlights in full form where Abbott’s loyalties have always laid. They have never been with the Australian people, but to the ruling class, especially that of England. While this move by Abbott is extremely unusual it is not without precedent. Former Prime Minister George Reid went on to serve in the House of Commons, and as well as former Prime Ministers Stanley Bruce and Robert Menzies who were members of Churchill’s cabinet – all members of political parties had contempt for the working-class.

Of course our current Prime Minister Scott Morrison has no issue with the appointment qualifying it as a “good hire.” It seems that Morrison doesn’t have concerns about foreign agents interfering in the government of other governments after all – so long as it’s one of our own.

Next article – Struggle on the waterfront

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