• Clarice Greenup (centre), aunt of Evelyn Greenup, one of the victims of the Bowraville murders, is comforted by Raymond Robinson (left) and Marg Campbell, prior to a march on NSW Parliament House. (File: AAP)
After 23 years, two court cases and a coroners' inquest, the families of three Aboriginal children murdered in Bowraville will finally get to tell their stories.
Malarndirri McCarthy

26 Nov 2013 - 7:05 PM  UPDATED 26 Nov 2013 - 7:12 PM

Today, the Greens motion for a parliamentary inquiry was finally passed in the NSW Upper House, giving the green light for a public inquiry to begin.

The motion was passed unanimously.

"I said at the outset last week when we were debating this issue in Parliament in front of the family and of course the community that had come with the family in Bowraville, we show our support to them as grieving victims,” NSW Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Michael Gallagher told the house.

“We understood that there was a need for them to have an opportunity to speak.”

The inquiry will hear how the murders of teenagers Colleen Walker-Craig and Clinton Speedy Duroux and four-year-old Evelyn Greenup impacted the lives of the Bowraville community members. It was an impact that was magnified by the failure to convict despite two trials.

Jasmine Speedy, cousin of Clinton Speedy-Duroux, says the issue is still an open wound for the family.

"The impact that this has had on my family, the emotional hurt…yeah the sadness that they're going through because of this…[It is] the injustice of the murder of Bubby."

It's also a quiet political victory for Greens MP David Shoebridge, who has tried three times to push for the inquiry in the Upper House.

He knows that the families want the three murder cases to be tried together and he hopes this inquiry will go some way to assisting the families.

“The way the matter was prosecuted, the grief, the revisiting of the grief through police prosecutions and the double jeopardy process - I think the committee will hear from the community about all of that,” he told NITV News.

“I think that's essential because we need to learn the lessons from Bowraville and the elected representatives who make the law need to learn the lessons from Bowraville.”

With two trials, a coroner's inquest and no conviction and Colleen Walker Craig's body still not found, there are many who are watching developments very closely too.

“I would hope that an inquiry now would give them a voice that they didn’t have,” lawyer Professor Larissa Behrendt said.

“Give them a chance to really express what's really happened to them and for the public to hear them and for somebody in an official position to say that what's happened to these families - and the inability to get justice for their children - wasn’t right.”

The Upper House Standing Committee of Law and Justice is expected to begin its work on the Bowraville Inquiry immediately.