• The Point's co-hosts, JP Janke and Shahni Wellington (The Point)Source: The Point
The Point delivered a powerhouse episode on Tuesday night, covering everything from the trial of the accused murderer of George Floyd, to an exclusive interview with Labor leader Anthony Albanese on constitutional recognition.
By
Neil McMahon

Source:
The Point
31 Mar 2021 - 11:50 AM  UPDATED 31 Mar 2021 - 2:17 PM

GEORGE FLOYD

Derek Chauvin has pleaded not guilty in a Minneapolis courtroom to the murder of George Floyd.

Mr Floyd's death was captured on video and viewed around the world last May, as Chauvin pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes.

The Point took us outside the court, where legendary activist the Rev. Al Sharpton was among those keeping vigil as the trial unfolded nearby.

“We need to pray for his family but also we need to pray for America, because this is a seminal moment, a landmark moment, in American history."

Floyd family lawyer Benjamin Crump said: “They want us to trust the system? Well, this is your chance to show us that we can trust you.”

DEATHS IN CUSTODY

Just a few weeks out from the 30th anniversary of the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody comes news of a fourth death in less than a month.

Barkindji man Anzac Sullivan, 37, died after a police pursuit in Broken Hill on March 18.

Reporter Lindy Kerin spoke to Cilla Atkins, the new co-chair of the peak body Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service, who said: “There needs to be urgent change and it needs to happen now. We can't keep talking about this. The 30th anniversary is coming up … What have we achieved since then? Since that date we've had more than 400 deaths.”

Atkins is supporting 15 families who are seeking a meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“He needs to not see a statistic. He needs to hear from the real people struggling every day and then stand up and make a change. He needs to set real justice targets on how they will heed the royal commission recommendations. I don't want to hear about it in another five or 10 years. It needs to happen this year.”

Atkins said she believed the PM would come around to a meeting.

“I really think the PM will (agree to a meeting) … I will be very disappointed if he doesn’t.”

ALICE SPRINGS YOUTH CRIME

A live panel discussion centred on youth crime in Alice Springs, sparked by a recent A Current Affair report on the issue.

Catherine Satour, an Alice Springs councillor, told the program: “At the moment there is frustration, there is division, there is increased concerns around young people breaking into homes, stealing food, stealing family vehicles, breaking into properties and workplaces and businesses.

“There is also an increased concern around the future of our young generation and what their futures look like if we don't give them the support and guidance that they need to be able to get on the right track.

“For sure there has to be some reasonable measures in place that young people understand these kind of acts of criminal activity are unacceptable but that stems from strengthening family relationships.

“What all this really highlights is the need to strengthen family relationships and strengthen community services. … when you break it down, what it says is a failure of government policies and a real breakdown in community relationships. That (ACA) footage captured a real small moment in time and spoke to the layers of complexities, social complexities in our town, but also the years of unaddressed social issues are worrying lots of elders.”

Lawyer Eddie Cubillo said suggested solutions such as ankle bracelets risked throwing the town back into the failed policies of the past.

“It looks like going back to the 90's when we had mandatory sentencing. That’s where we’re headed … we need to look at all the underlying issues.

“Everyone, including Indigenous people, want to be safe in their communities. It is not just non-indigenous people.”

DAN MURPHYS DEBATE

The controversy over Woolworths’ plan to build a Dan Murphy’s liquor outlet in Darwin continues to simmer, and has thrown community representatives into conflict.

Reporter Keira Jenkins visited Bagot and spoke to locals, including elder Helen Fejo-Smith.

“We got enough alcohol outlets at the moment around Darwin even around here in Bagot where we are,” she said.

“We don’t need a big megastore like that because it will just cause more violence, more people getting killed, people dying and children not being looked after.”

Olga Havnen, CEO of Danila Dilba health service in Darwin, said: “We have consumption rates that are on par with Russia and other northern parts of Europe. They are at fairly horrific levels and the Territory is right up there with them.

“Why on earth would you want to create more harm?”

At nearby Kulaluk, however, there was support for the megastore.

In a video provided by the developers, Helen Secretary of the Gwalwa Daraniki Association said: “We are the traditional owners of this land and we have our own voice in regards to how our future goes in our community for our people.”

Secretary said there had been community consultation, but Fejo-Smith contested that: “Nobody came anywhere near us to consult.”

John Patterson of Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory said: “It’s wedging Aboriginal people, it’s wedging Aboriginal organisations and that style of tactic and play is definitely right in line with the early colonisers.”

BANKSIA HILL CLASS ACTION

Sarah Collard reported from Western Australia on a class action for people formerly detained in Banksia Hill.

She met Shania Maher in Perth, and discussed her experiences in detention and her life after detention, including being separated from her two daughters.

“My children are the fifth generation of children in the system, It's not a good thing. I've been through it, my mother has been through it, my grandmother has been through it, my great-grandmother's been through it and back in the day it was on the missions.”

Maher was locked up over several years in the Banksia Hill juvenile detention centre, where she says there was no counselling or support.

Sydney lawyer Stuart Levitt has brought together more than 130 former Banksia Hill detainees for the class action, with more expected to join before the case is lodged in the Federal Court late in 2021.

TRUTH TELLING IN TASMANIA

This ANZAC Day is set to be a commemoration like no other in Hobart, where the local RSL has agreed to the creation of a memorial to Indigenous people who died in the frontier wars. Elders from around the state have been invited to the April 25 events, to acknowledge service not just in World War 1 and World War 2, but also deaths in conflict after white settlement.

Robert Dick, the president of RSL Tasmania, said: “I support that there should be recognition for everyone who did suffer through the period of time and also that this is a dark part of our history that we don’t want to happen again.”

Professor Lyndall Ryan of the University of Newcastle told the program: “I think it will set a precedent for other memorials being established in other parts of Australia.”

ALBANESE INTERVIEW

Host John Paul Janke spoke to Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese about the prospects for constitutional recognition.

Albanese pledged to seek to enshrine a voice in the Constitution if elected.

“I've said that it's my first priority for constitutional change, and I would… try to reach across the aisle and get broad consensus. We know that it's very difficult to get constitutional change in this country, but I think the Australian people are certainly ready for it.”

The Labor leader said the response of Prime Minister Scott Morrison had been “disappointing”.

“I don’t see why that can’t be achieved with leadership but the Prime Minister seems determined to not provide it.”