BL.INK 82: a year of HINDERpendence

Mick Miller and Steve Mam 1982. Photograph courtesy of Juno Gemes ©

Mick Miller and Steve Mam 1982. Photograph courtesy of Juno Gemes ©

In 1982, the then Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen declared all political protests and slogans on t-shirts illegal. Brisbane was in a State of Emergency. Hear the voices and writings of a strong and political Black Australia fighting for equal rights – forged from the constraints of police lines and barricades.

Next Thursday, join Steven Oliver, Barbara Baugh and Yvette Walker in a night of political word play!

In developing the script for this BL.INK event, I have had to research more into the back stories of the protests and uncover stories that have often been left out of the history books.

Stories like the Koowarta V Bjelke-Peterson case. In 1976, John Koowarta convinced the Aboriginal Land Fund Commission to purchase a lease of land in Northern Queensland. The lease was to enable an Aboriginal community to start a cattle property. Permission to lease the land was refused by the Queensland National Party government led by Bjelke-Petersen; the party was opposed to Aborigines buying leasehold land.

The Koowarta group took the case to the High Court, arguing that the Queensland government’s decision breached the Commonwealth 1975 Racial Discrimination Act. This Act implemented the terms of an international treaty that sought the abolition of all forms of discrimination based on race.

In 1982 the High Court ruled, by the narrowest of margins (4-3), that the Racial Discrimination Act was valid and that it could override State laws using the external affairs powers under section 51 (xxix) of the Commonwealth Constitution.

In short, as well as its significance for confirming the validity of laws implementing Australia’s human rights obligations, the case was significant for Indigenous land rights.

1982 Protests: Courtesy of Juno Gemes ©

1982 Protests: Courtesy of Juno Gemes ©

These incidents of history have often been the catalyst for taking to the streets, pounding the pavements and letting our voices be heard!

BL.INK 82: a year of HINDERpendence will showcase personal experiences, protests from the streets, poetry and songs about not only the days leading up to and during the 1982 Games but also reflect on the importance and power of words for social and political change!

Date: Thursday 20th September 2012

Time: 6.00pm

Venue: Library Café, level 1, State Library of Queensland


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