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Queensland police fire First Nations advisory group members

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Members of the group have accused Qld Police of trying to silence them.
Queensland Police will replace the members of its First Nations Advisory Group after members refused to sign a confidentiality contract.

Queensland Police will replace the members of its First Nations Advisory Group (FNAG) after its original members refused to sign a confidentiality contract.

The body was established in 2022 to help improve policing outcomes for local First Nations communities.

Members of the group have accused Qld Police of trying to silence them.

Here’s what you need to know.

Queensland Police’s First Nations Advisory Group

The Qld Police Service (QPS) established the FNAG after a 2022 inquiry identified a culture of racist attitudes within the state’s police force.

The group comprised of First Nation community leaders and elders who were meant to build the QPS‘ “cultural capacity“ and strengthen ties between law enforcement and First Nations communities.

However, the group said its attempts to implement cultural reforms were repeatedly dismissed by the QPS.

Internal review

Last year, the QPS conducted an internal assessment, finding the FNAG ”was not meeting [its] purpose and original intent”. FNAG members say the QPS drew up new contracts for group members with updated outcomes.

The new contract included a ‘gag order’, meaning members who signed it could not discuss the group’s activity outside official channels.

The FNAG said the contracts came after it consistently raised concerns about QPS leadership, which it claims were “met with silence”.

Gag order

In a statement, the group’s original members said: “After 15 months of operation, we were given contracts to sign containing a confidentiality clause which would prevent us speaking publicly about the work of the FNAG or the QPS unless approved by the QPS.”

Members argued the contract’s non-disclosure clause went against their obligations to their communities.

They said the order also breached the original guidelines agreed by the FNAG and the QPS.

Police decision

QPS officials decided to dissolve the group after it failed to reach an agreement with members over the contract.

The QPS said the FNAG was notified in February.

FNAG members said: “These actions demonstrate how the dominant powers will move to silence and disempower those who hold them accountable and are but one example of the systemic racism which needs to be addressed.“

What next?

The QPS said it’s working to recruit a new advisory group and remains committed to “enhancing the organisation’s cultural capability”.

However, former FNAG co-chair Christine Thomas says she was concerned the QPS was “repeating history”.

“These actions do little to build trust and faith with First Nations communities that the QPS take reframing the relationship seriously.”

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