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Carr defends Redfern riot inquiry

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 3 August 2004


New South Wales Premier Bob Carr has defended the effectiveness of an Upper House inquiry into the Redfern riots in Sydney.

He says the Opposition has criticised the inquiry because the findings did not support their prejudices.

The riot erupted after the death of 17-year-old Aborigine Thomas Hickey, who was impaled through the neck on a fence in Redfern in February. More than 50 police were injured during the riot.

Opposition Leader John Brogden said yesterday the report's recommendations would not prevent another riot and would do nothing to address social problems in the area.

But Mr Carr says the Opposition needs to focus on implementing measures that will help improve the situation.

"I think we should set aside the political argument here and simply get on with the hard job of building a community, of dealing with the problems of broken families," he said.

"Seeing these strategic goals advanced and backing the police in the day-to-day task of maintaining order and chasing the drug dealers."

Meanwhile, the committee has recommended that an internal police report into the riot should be released as soon as possible.

A spokeswoman for Police Minister John Watkins says the committee's report is being considered by the state coroner as part of the inquest into the Thomas Hickey's death.

Advice was being sought about the release of the document.

The report has been written by Strike Force Coburn, which was set up to investigate the police response to the riot.


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