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Media Watch, 1
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
SOME FANCY FOOTWORK around the fate of the ex-Maid of Maningrida on this morning's Law Report on Radio National.
Two lawyers, John Tippett QC from Darwin and a Ms McGlade (phonetic) from Murdoch University in Perth commented on the case now familiar to followers of ABCwatch.
Tippett managed to so nuance his deliberations that he avoided entirely the crucial question: does a young girl have the right of refusal of an arranged marriage, as she should under our law, or doesn't she?
The Perth feminist and Noongah woman, McGlade, further confused the issues by insisting on the fiction that under customary Aboriginal practice men do not have the right to inflict violence on their women. Violence among Aboriginal people is just an artifact of colonialism. An outright lie.
Between the equivocations of these two lawyers there was no safe ground for the victim.
The only hopeful statement came from Mr John Ah Kit, an Aboriginal MP who assists the Northern Territory's Chief Minister on Indigenous Affairs. He asserted unequivocally that the girl should have the full protection of our law. God bless him.
The NT Director of Public Prosecutions is appealing Judge Gallop's derisory sentence of 24 hours jail for Jamilmira.
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