If there are two sides to each story, untangling these views is the customarily unenviable job confronted by a journalist, because it was for Brisbane Times reporter Zach Hope, who adopted the Darwin trial of Constable Zach Rolfe over the killing of Indigenous man Kumanjayi Walker.
Hope joins us on an episode of Good Weekend Talks to debate his journal cowl story – BROKEN HEART – in regards to the loss of life of a 19-year-old from Yuendumu by the hands of an Alice Springs policeman.
On one aspect of that story is a younger white police officer from a rich household in Canberra. “And they say that he’s the sacrificial lamb,” says Hope. “That the police executive threw him under the bus to appease an angry crowd. That Rolfe was just doing his job as a police officer.”
On the opposite aspect are Aboriginal folks nonetheless dwelling on their conventional lands, nonetheless practising conventional tradition, and nonetheless talking their conventional language. “And what they’re still grappling with is how a young man is dead and there are no repercussions for that. They’re still grieving, and they still can’t understand how it got to this point.”
Hosting this podcast chat is Greg Callaghan, the deputy editor of Good Weekend, who questions Hope in regards to the nuances and underlying points at play in a case as distinguished and controversial as this one turned.
“The story became a real touch point on this country, and how it’s grappling with matters of race and power and privilege and its colonial past,” says Hope. “It was just one of those moments in Australian history that I think will be revisited over and over again.”
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