Four days ago, the police officer charged with the murder of Aboriginal woman Joyce Clarke entered a not guilty plea. You may not have heard about it. In a search of the Factiva database over the past three months, I found only one article on Ms Clarke’s death – an AAP wire story that privileges the quote of the WA commissioner police over that of Ms Clarke’s community (‘it was, the report said, ‘one of the saddest days’ in his career). Earlier today, NITV published a piece quoting Ms Clarke’s mother.
Two months after Ms Clarke’s death, 19-year-old Aboriginal man Kumanjayi Walker was shot to death in the remote Northern Territory community of Yuendemu. Just like Ms Clarke’s death, media reported police allegations with little challenge.
The matters are now before the courts. But despite both communities coming out immediately in protest, the deaths of Ms Clarke and Mr Walker have failed to reach the same level of Australian outrage when it comes to cases far from our own home.