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Racial discrimination complaint lodged.



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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission

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Racial Discrimination Complaint Lodged

9/10/2002

Over the past three months I have been subjected to a sustained campaign of vilification, led by The Courier Mail newspaper.

Today my lawyers will issue a seventh Statement of Claim for defamation against The Courier Mail.

There are, however, much more significant issues at play here.

These issues cannot simply be redressed through defamation actions.

They affect the whole Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and the way we are treated and portrayed by sections of the Australian media.

Because of this I have also filed a Complaint against The Courier Mail with the Human Rights & Equal Opportunity Commission.

This Complaint, which has been accepted as a complaint by HREOC, alleges that, in the articles they have published about myself and various Aboriginal and Islander organisations that I am a member of, the publishers of The Courier Mail have breached the Racial Discrimination Act.

In taking this action I am acting in the knowledge I have the full support of my community, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal.

My hometown of Charleville is a functioning community where black and white live and work together.

The Bidjara organisations I chair employ over 200 people and there is very little unemployment in Charleville.

95% of Aboriginal people in Charleville are employed.

Bidjara has a payroll of $2.65M, which is spent largely in Charleville.

Crimes such as break and enter, vandalism, juvenile offences, and alcohol related offences in Charleville have dropped by at least 30% in the past 5 years.

Our community is moving towards economic independence. I am determined to continue to lead it down this path.

There is an open invitation for media to visit Charleville.

A range of Federal and State political leaders are on the record in support of the work being done in Charleville.

But these voices are not heard in most Australian media.

I am determined to continue to work with my community and those that elect me to deliver economic independence to Aboriginal and Islander people and I will not be distracted from this task by The Courier Mail.

RAY ROBINSON Deputy Chairman, ATSIC

 

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