Katherine Feeney and Daniel Hurst Sydney Morning Herald 6 December 2012
The Indigenous tent embassy at South Brisbane's Musgrave Park is set to be shut down.
Lord Mayor Graham Quirk said the move was supported at "a special meeting of elders" on Wednesday.
A spokesman for Cr Quirk said the Brisbane City Council had offered a mini skip "to help elders clean up the site but is not forcing a closure''.
The tent embassy at Musgrave Park was at the centre of controversy in May when hundreds of police clashed with occupants who had received a council eviction notice ahead of the Greek Paniyiri Festival.
Cr Quirk said Brisbane City Council was recently "approached by a couple of members of the Indigenous community with the desire to close down what was the sovereign embassy site".
"There were some concerns there had been increased levels of violence within Musgrave Park and that the site had become very unsightly untidy with a lot of rubbish around it," he told Fairfax Media.
"The senior members were saying to me they felt that was reflecting badly upon them as a community.
"So I wasn't going to just go ahead and unilaterally on the basis of people coming forward undertake that decision so I called a special meeting of elders and that meeting was held yesterday and they as elders unanimously supported the closing down of the site.
"Today there has been a mini skip delivered to the site and the Indigenous community are involved in cleaning up the site."
However, activist Wayne Wharton has written to Cr Quirk expressing his "absolute disgust" that the Lord Mayor "would seek to move against the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy".
Mr Wharton's letter says Cr Quirk could not claim any legitimacy or consent based on the people in attendance at the meeting on Wednesday.
"We want an urgent community meeting next Wednesday here at the embassy [not behind closed doors] to discuss the management plan and the handing back of Jaggera," Mr Wharton writes.
Asked whether he was worried about a community backlash, Cr Quirk said: "In any community you are always going to find there is a difference of view but I think overwhelmingly we have a situation where the elders of the community want it closed and that is the decision we've taken at this time."
Cr Quirk said work on the future of the Jaggera Community Hall was taking time and the council would continue to offer assistance to the Indigenous community "to come up with their model for self-governance".
"I've indicated very clearly to the Indigenous community that I would like to see them be in a position of self-governance of the Jaggera Community Hall – we've offered assistance in terms of that," he said.
"But any model that is adopted has to be the model of the Indigenous community – I don't want to be making those decisions for them."
Letter to Graham Quirk Facebook - Brisbane Aboriginal-Sovereign Embassy 6 December 2012
Dear Mayor Graham Quirk,
Firstly I would like to express my absolute disgust that you would seek to move against the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy and convene a fake community meeting just days after I lost my sister and am currently looking after my family as we go through sorry business.
I have listened to a recording of the shameful meeting you held in your office yesterday afternoon (December 5). You cannot claim any legitimacy or consent to take any action for or against the Brisbane Aboriginal Sovereign Embassy based on those people in attendance at that meeting.
Adrian Burrugubba, who was quite vocal against the embassy, has no standing in the community. His claim that the fire is not a Sacred Fire is beyond belief for someone who claims to be a man of culture. He does not speak for the Embassy and he does not speak for the people. Gwenda Stanley even suggested in the meeting that we could relocate the fire and set up an “eternal flame”. What sort of sick joke is this?
Natalie Alberts have been seen on numerous occasions taking grog into Musgrave Park to give to the park mob to cause disruption.
What was Teddy Hopkins given to attend your meeting and run the embassy down?
I have never seen any of these people camp at the embassy and most of those at the meeting have never been involved in embassy business.
The Brisbane City Council can claim no authority whatsoever from that sham meeting f hand-picked people. You are trying to set us up like you did in May and you will meet with the same response. The people will come out to defend the Sacred Fire and the Sovereign Embassy. You are attempting to create division and distraction from the real issues – and the real issue is sovereignty. You have no authority in this land.
What sort of man are you to allow, in a meeting you are running, to allow someone like Adrian to attack a woman representative of the embassy to the point where she felt so unsafe she had to leave the meeting.
Why has there been no progress with the handing back of Jaggera Hall and the DOGIT to the community. Why has there been no progress on the proposed embassy/park management plan and why have Council failed to provide adequate sanitation for the embassy.
We want an urgent community meeting next Wednesday here at the embassy (not behind closed doors) to discuss the management plan and the handing back of Jaggera.