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Day of action set over Palm Is death

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 2 December 2004

The Queensland Government says it has no qualms about a planned national day of action over the death of a man on Palm Island in Queensland's north as long as it is peaceful.

Yesterday, Brisbane Indigenous leaders met to organise a national day of action over the death in custody of 23-year-old Cameron Doomadgee.

His death prompted riots on the island and buildings were torched.

Premier Peter Beattie says people are entitled to protest.

"Provided they stick within the law people are entitled to express their grief," he said.

Activist Sam Watson says the meeting also resolved to take the matter to the United Nations.

"We'll be making representations to the United Nations because we have absolutely no confidence in the Australian so-called justice system," he said.

Police Minister Judy Spence has again asked for the Crime and Misconduct Commission (CMC) to be given a chance.

"I'd encourage people to wait until the independent CMC investigation is complete".

Ms Spence says people should also wait for the coroner's report.

Meanwhile Palm Island leaders say residents have not been offered counselling to help them come to terms with last week's riot.

Palm Island Councillor Rosina Norman says many residents who witnessed the violent events are still shocked.

She is worried about what impact it will have on the next generation.

"The next generation is a different type of generation, they are fearful, probably more violent because of what they've been shown, exposed to," she said.

"Are we going to have counselling, no trauma counselling whatsoever, the school said they were going to bring in some counsellors to talk to some of the kids."

The Member for Townsville, Mike Reynolds, has issued a statement saying a counselling centre is being established on Palm Island.

Three Indigenous counsellors from Townsville will join Queensland Health staff who are already on the island.

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