Law recognises cultures
COLOURFUL sashes were draped around the necks of five Aboriginal elders yesterday in a ceremony marking their contribution to the Murri Court process.
The official opening of Maryborough’s Murri Court attracted plenty of dignitaries but the stars of the show were undoubtedly the elders – and the youngsters.
Tots from the Unndennoo Kindergarten had the audience enthralled with their Butchulla rendition of Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes, which they performed with enthusiasm in the upstairs courtroom.
Queensland Chief Magistrate Brendan Butler said the Murri Court could make a difference in the lives of indigenous offenders by applying the law in a culturally appropriate way.
“It’s not about lighter sentences – it’s about sentences that are more meaningful to the defendants,” he said.
“The strength of the Murri Court process lies in the involvement of the elders who sit on the court.”
Terry Ryan from the Department of Justice and Attorney-General presented sashes to elders Uncle Greg Eaton, Uncle Glenn Blake, Aunty Harriet Tanna, Aunty Elvena Tobane and Uncle Mark Singho, who offer cultural advice to Magistrate John Smith during Murri Court sittings.
“It’s something which we are all proud to have around our necks,” Uncle Glenn Blake said.
“We will wear them with honour and respect.”
Maryborough’s Murri Court has been held on a regular basis since November.