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Vanstone should meet Palm Islanders on death in custody.



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DEMOCRATS MEDIA 05/081 WEDNESDAY 23 FEBRUARY 2005 SENATOR JOHN CHERRY SENATOR ADEN RIDGEWAY SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS SPOKESPERSON Vanstone should meet Palm Islanders on death in custody Indigenous Affairs Minister Amanda Vanstone should visit Palm Island to discuss the content of a petition signed by 700 residents calling for a Royal Commission into the death in custody of Mulrunji Doomadgee, according to the Australian Democrats. Democrats Queensland Senator John Cherry, said it was clear the Palm Island community had lost faith in the Beattie Government-initiated inquiry into the death by the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) and clearly had concerns with the coronial inquiry. "There is the added concern that the Premier has prejudged the outcomes of these inquiries by stating even before they started that the police did nothing wrong. No wonder the community has lost faith in the official State processes," Senator Cherry said. "As the Federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Senator Vanstone has an overriding responsibility to ensure that State Governments are fair and just in their dealings with Indigenous people. "Palm Island is Queensland's biggest Indigenous community and it is clear that the community feels that the State Government has not acted fairly and justly in dealing with the death of Mr Doomadgee" Democrats Indigenous Affairs spokesperson, Senator Aden Ridgeway said the recent first anniversary of the Redfern riot shows the need for any inquiry into the death in custody to be independent and transparent. "The sense of "unfinished business" or worse "business as usual" in Redfern is overwhelming, and we must avoid this occurring with Palm Island. "What is needed is a process in which the local community can have confidence and which has the powers, the determination and the independence to get to the bottom of this tragic death," Senator Ridgeway concluded. Media contact for Senator Cherry: Pam Hose 0408 752 750 Media contact for Senator Ridgeway: Liz Willis 0417 410 506