‘In a uniquely Aboriginal articulation of the global Black Lives Matter movement, Batdjala rapper Birdz sings not of Rice, Garner, Martin or Bland. Instead he sings of Mulrunji, Elijah, Yock, Hickey and the Bowraville children – each of whom died in seemingly different circumstances.
‘What ties them together, however, is the indifference to their deaths and the apparent disposability of Black lives in Australia.
‘Much of the media attention in Australia surrounding the US-led Black Lives Matter movement has focused on police brutality and the murder of young African-American men on public streets, captured on smartphones and dashboard cameras.
‘Meanwhile, the murders of Aboriginal people in Australia have been less visible. If mentioned at all, Aboriginal deaths at the hands of the state are variously framed as “suspicious”, “unknown”, “accidental” or “inevitable”, despite the presence of CCTV footage, protests, perpetrators, witnesses, coronial inquiries and a royal commission.
‘Where murder is not even considered manslaughter, where Black witnesses are deemed “unreliable”, where royal commission recommendations aren’t implemented, where coroners refuse to exercise their power to make recommendations, and where White murderers of Black children enjoy the privilege of being unnamed for their own protection, it is blatantly clear whose lives really matter in Australia.’