March marks protest anniversary


Aboriginal rights supporters have marched through central Brisbane to mark the anniversary of the 1982 Commonwealth Games protests.

It is the beginning of a weekend of events to mark 30 years since Brisbane’s Indigenous people protested during the Commonwealth Games against the Aborigines Act.

Laura Churchill reports.

TRANSCRIPT

Today Indigenous Australians and their supporters walked from Roma Street forum to Musgrave Park, following the route of the march that was stopped 30 years ago.

The protests were against the Queensland Aborigines Act that gave the government the right to control and segregate Aboriginal people.

Then Premier Joh Bjelke-Peterson declared a state of emergency in Brisbane and made public marches illegal when rumours spread that Indigenous people were planning to protest against the Act during the Commonwealth Games.

Although the protests led to the repeal of the act, communitity leaders say Indigenous Australians still face many struggles, including high unemployment and continuing discrimination.

Wayne Wharton, Community Leader: “When we highlight these things it’s an effort to get the information out to mainstream Australia that those thing this is what our struggle is about.”

Although it has been 30 years since the 1982 protests the sentiment hasn’t changed as the Indigenous people of Australia fight for what they see as their legal right.

The State Library has joined in with an exhibition titled ‘State of Emergency’ illustrating the politics and protests surrounding the 1982 Commonwealth Games.

Amanda Hayman, State Library Curator: “This is a great example of Brisbane history. It was such a major event it was international so a lot of our young people don’t know the history even from the city that they live in.”

Event organisers are setting up a camp in Musgrave Park this weekend.

Laura Churchill, QUT News.