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Tuesday, 8 February 2005
Page: 81

Senator CHERRY (5:47 PM) —by leave—I move:

That the Senate take note of the document.

I note that a coronial inquiry into the death of Mr Doomadgee has commenced in Palm Island. The letter from Mr Mackenroth, the Acting Premier of Queensland, relies very heavily on the importance of the Crime and Misconduct Commission inquiry into the death in custody. I note, and it is important for the Senate to note, that the Palm Island community and the Doomadgee family stated in a press statement on 31 January that they have lost confidence in the CMC inquiry. They believe there is a conflict of interest when police are involved in investigating police action and that this is unacceptable. The community on Palm Island needs to be satisfied that the investigation is above board and provides real answers. They say that they have lost confidence in the CMC’s ability to undertake their investigation in a fair and reasonable manner and now call on the federal government to instigate a royal commission into Mr Doomadgee’s death.

These are very important concerns being raised by the people of Palm Island, particularly about whether they will get the answers they need out of a CMC inquiry. It raises questions which the Senate needs to keep an eye on. I do not want to speak for particularly long, but I thought we could not let that response from the Queensland government pass today without noting that the community on Palm Island has lost confidence in the CMC inquiry. It is vitally important that the Queensland government make every possible effort to rebuild the confidence of the people of Palm Island and that these issues regarding Mr Doomadgee’s death be properly investigated. Certainly, the Senate needs to have a close watching brief on the outcomes of the coronial inquiry and the response of the Queensland Police Service and the Queensland government.

Question agreed to.