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Palm Island residents urge Beattie to stay away

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 15 February 2005

Indigenous leaders have warned Queensland Premier Peter Beattie he will be snubbed by the community if he tries to visit Palm Island this week.

Mr Beattie and the Police Commissioner Bob Atkinson are hoping to travel to the north Queensland community to open a new Police Citizens Youth Club.

The Doomadgee family say it is ill-timed, as they and the community are still mourning the death in custody of a 36-year-old man.

Family spokesman Brad Foster says Mr Beattie should have some respect.

"Even though the Doomadgee family in the Palm Island Council have said no, he has gone against those requests and he will be making his way up, which I thought is disrespectful on his part because it is very important the Premier needs to show a bit of sensitivity on the issue," he said.

"A death has happened over there and people are still going through grievances."

Mr Foster says the Premier should wait until after the coroner's inquest, which does not start until the end of this month.

"We want to thank the people of Queensland for assisting us to put in place a hall that is going to be dealing with a lot of programs for our kids, but because of the commissioner coming up, it is a very sensitive issue and people will not be turning up for the opening of the hall and they're asking all of the people on Palm Island not to attend," he said.

A spokesman for the Premier says Mr Beattie will ask a government representative to discuss the matter of his visit with the Doomadgee family.

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