Indigenous advisory body says racism behind their dismissal by Australian police

Thu, 9 May 2024 7:18 GMT
Group says it demonstrates how dominant powers will move to ‘silence and disempower those who hold them accountable’.
Indigenous advisory body says racism behind their dismissal by Australian police

The members of a body tasked with advising the Queensland Police Service (QPS) on matters of the state’s indigenous population, First Nations, said a "culture of racism" is behind their dismissal.

The First Nations Advisory Group (FNAG), which was formally established in November 2022, were to work with the QPS to improve "decision-making, systems, processes and policing practices" that affect the state's Indigenous population.

However, their tenure was marked by conflict with the QPS’s administration, frustrated attempts to meet with the police commissioner and inaction on their recommendations, local broadcaster SBS News reported Wednesday.

In an open letter, the group, comprised of academics, leaders and respected community members, said they had been advised of their termination in February.

The letter also states that six weeks prior to the termination, FNAG was presented with contracts that would have obliged them to seek approval from the QPS to speak publicly about their work or the police service.

This, it said, contravenes the group's terms of reference (TOR) approved by then-Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll in March 2023, which include a requirement to "(facilitate) transparency via information sharing between QPS and First Nations communities."

"These actions demonstrate how the (dominant) powers will move to silence and disempower those who hold them accountable and are but one example of the systemic racism which needs to be addressed," the letter says.

The QPS in a statement on Tuesday confirmed the group's dismissal, which was the result of a review begun just weeks after the publication of FNAG's open letter.

"Following an internal assessment...which was commenced in December 2023, it was identified that the group, in its previous iteration, was not meeting the purpose and original intent of the group," the statement reads.

The Commission's final report, released in November that year, dismissed those concerns as "inaccurate.”


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