“You don’t have to worry about your little boong mate Marky suing you for fitting him up. When I’m finished with him he’ll be in the gutter where he belongs with all his other boong mates. You will be able to piss on him as you step over him on your way to work”
(Excerpt from a verbal exchange between an ACT DPP Prosecutor and an ACT Department of Treasury official in 2007)
I won’t go into all of the murky details that led up to the above exchange. Needless to say though, that the person being discussed is an Aboriginal Australian and a former Canberra based senior public servant. It is interesting to compare the DPP’s view when dealing with Aboriginal versus non-Aboriginal defenders.
Australian readers will probably recall, with a certain amount of mirth, the farcical situation that brought Malcolm Turnbull low – utegate, a most Aussie moniker (to steal an expression from Paulo) used to label a farcical situation involving former leader of the Australian federal opposition Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan.
In 2009 during an Estimates Hearing, Malcolm Turnbull alleged that the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, and/or the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, had acted improperly on behalf of a Queensland car dealer who was seeking financial assistance from a government agency called OzCar and that they had misled Parliament. Central to this claim was evidence by Treasury official Godwin Grech before a Senate inquiry in June 2009 that a Prime Ministerial adviser had emailed him asking for preferential treatment for the dealer. When the email’s text became known the Prime Minister labeled it a forgery and a subsequent police investigation confirmed that the email was never sent. On 4 August 2009, The Age reported in an article headed Grech ‘wrote fake email’ that Grech admitted to forging the incriminating email. The Auditor-General was also ordered to conduct an investigation. It found no evidence of corruption by the Prime Minister or the Treasurer or their respective offices, but did make adverse findings against Godwin Grech and highlighted numerous administrative failings in the Treasury.
Interesting, but what has this to do with the exchange between the DPP and ACT Treasury?
Despite all the accusations against Godwin Grech, the DPP have decided that they will not proceed with charges. The short story is that they don’t quite have enough evidence to be 100% certain of securing a conviction (and he’s not a suspected terrorist, so the burden of proof is higher) and they seem to think he has suffered enough.
In a nutshell, Mr. Grech is white and has suffered the humiliation of being exposed as someone who writes fake emails, which served no other purpose than as an attempt to discredit the Australian Prime Minister. They failed, but they were still written. The DPP sees white and lets him off the hook.
Let’s compare this to the Aboriginal Australian who was a senior ACT Department of Treasury employee. Like Grech, he was accused of faking documents. Unlike Grech, he is black and judging by comments like, “When I’m finished with him he’ll be in the gutter where he belongs with all his other boong mates. You will be able to piss on him as you step over him on your way to work”, the DPP only saw black!
Is this justice? I think not, but what would I know? I’m black, making me, in the eyes of the Australian Government, someone incapable of independent thought.
It is also interesting to compare the DPP’s decision in the Grech matter to what happened to five Aboriginal protestors in Canberra on 21st May, 2008. The protest was about the ACT Government’s decision to cull the Kangaroo population of the capital of Australia – Canberra. The kangaroo, sacred animal too many Aboriginal people and emblazoned on Australia’s Coat of Arms, but a nuance to the small-minded burocrates who purport to govern Australia according to the ‘rule of law’.
As well as the five Aboriginal protestors, there were a number of white protestors taking part in the day’s activities. Eventually, the civil libertarian Chief Minister of the ACT, Mr. Jon Stanhope, sent in the storm troopers (aka the AFP) to break up the protest. A number of protestors were arrested, including the aforementioned Aboriginal Australians.
In February of 2009 the five Aboriginal Australians were each convicted of trespass in the ACT Supreme Court and each received a sentence of a twelve month Good Behavior Bond. Ok, fair enough you might say, they broke the law! But what about the white protestors who were arrested at the same time, in the same protest, by the same storm troopers? Well bugger me; they all had the charges against them dropped by the self-same DPP that thinks that all boongs belong “in the gutter.”
It is also worth comparing what happened to the Aboriginal protestors in Australia’s Capital to a similar incident in Tasmania. Again the Aboriginal protestors were treated differently and less favorably than their white counterparts.
Aboriginal protester Sara Maynard was arrested for trespass while protesting at the Brighton bypass construction site last year,
Ms Maynard said it took her a long time to recover from the trauma of being strip-searched before facing the Hobart Magistrates Court.
“I was told that if I refused they would hold me down and take my clothes off for me,” Ms Maynard said yesterday.
“When you’ve got five men standing around and I’m the only female there … it was quite terrifying.”
She refused to be strip-searched in a cell with cameras, so was forced to undergo the procedure in a toilet by a female officer.
Gardening guru Peter Cundall was also arrested last year for protesting on the steps of Parliament house in Hobart. Mr Cundall is quoted as saying he was appalled by the treatment meted out to Ms Maynard. Mr Cundall also said that he and his fellow protesters were treated like royalty, with the police making it very clear that they didn’t want to arrest the 58 anti-pulp mill protesters and treating them with the utmost courtesy.
Sigh, and there you have it in a nutshell.
So much for those who argue that there is no systemic and institutionalized racism in Australia Viva La Revolucion!