The burnt-out Police Station and Courthouse on Palm Island during the 2004 riot.
The burnt-out Police Station and Courthouse on Palm Island during the 2004 riot.

State’s apology to Palm Island

THE Queensland Government will acknowledge Palm Island residents were racially discriminated against during the 2004 riots, with details of a public apology revealed in court today.

Cameron Doomagee (Mulrunji) who died in police custody on Palm Island in 2004.
Cameron Doomagee (Mulrunji) who died in police custody on Palm Island in 2004.

In a Federal Court sitting in Townsville, Justice Bernard Murphy approved a $30 million dollar class action settlement on allegations of racial discrimination during the riots which broke out following the death of Cameron Doomadgee (Mulrunji) in police custody.

On top of the large payout, the Queensland Government agreed to apologise to the Palm Island community with Justice Murphy reading out part of that apology during his summary.

"The Queensland Government expresses its sincere and profound apology to all the present and former residents of Palm Island who suffered as a result of the actions of any of its employees, servants or agents during the events, which occurred between 19 and 29 November 2004, following the death of Mulrunji in police custody," Justice Murphy read.

"The Queensland Government acknowledges that men, women and children who were assaulted, or otherwise treated illegally during this time suffered distress, humiliation and violence, and were discriminated against on the basis of their race by persons who represented the Queensland Government.

"We offer our deep regret and sorrow for those actions."

The action was brought by Lex Wotton, who served jail time for his role in the riots, his partner Cecilia Wotton and his mother Agnes Wotton on behalf of the Palm Island residents.

Palm Island local Lex Wotton Pictured: Zak Simmonds
Palm Island local Lex Wotton Pictured: Zak Simmonds


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