- The Guardian
- Issue #2031
Content Warning: Racial Violence
Last month, a fifteen-year-old boy, Cassius Turvey – a Noongar boy – was brutally murdered.
It is alleged that Jack Steven James Brearley, 21, exited a black Ford Ranger, came towards Turvey, and beat him with a metal pole. Turvey suffered severe head injuries, a seizure, and two strokes. He was placed in an induced coma before succumbing to only days later.
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese condemned the attack in a nationally televised press conference stating: “This attack that was clearly racially motivated just breaks your heart. We are a better country than that and my heart goes out to the family and the friends.”
Speaking to the effects these kind of attacks have on the community, Noongar elder Jim Morrison stated that:
“When a tragedy like this happens it’s worse than ripples in the pond. It resonates to such a degree that it triggers the traumas of incidents of our history […]. I’ve had grown men crying; parents are scared to let their kids go to school and ride the bus alone because of this.”
Last week, vigils were held across the country for Cassius with thousands present. (see Cassius Turvey vigil) Mechelle Turvey, Cassius’ mother who has been vocal and poignant throughout this traumatic event spoke at the Perth vigil saying “My boy talks to me every day through my heart.”
On the other side of Australia, in Sydney, mass numbers arrived in solidarity. Wiradjuri woman Lynda-June Coe said Cassius represented “every single son, every brother, right across this vast continent.”
In Melbourne, similar numbers were present with Vigil organiser and cousin of Cassius, Sam May – a Whadjuck-Ballardong Noongar man – stating “We’ve been angry for so long, but this is not about anger, it’s about hurt.”
The murder of Turvey is, unfortunately, not an isolated incident but part of a deeply-rooted, systemic issue at the heart and foundation of so-called Australia.
It is important that we acknowledge that this moment is not just a murder but part of a continued on-going genocide that has never stopped in this country. Colonisation stole Indigenous land. White Australia has systemically attempted to erase this land’s Indigenous people. In the first instance by murder through wars waged against Aboriginal people and in the second instance, culturally, by attempting to destroy Indigenous life and customs as experienced by the Stolen Generations. Beyond this, Indigenous people are disproportionately represented in prison populations and they are systemically killed while incarcerated. They have limited access to resources to improve their quality of life which has resulted in poorer living conditions. And more than this, every day more sacred sites and land are destroyed for the purposes of extracting this land’s wealth to make Australia’s bourgeoisie even richer. They are in the truest sense of the phrase, second-class citizens.
The treatment and oppression of Indigenous people must end. Enough is enough.