The lodge has had a long-standing and contentious relationship with the federal government, which it maintains was responsible for the deaths of dozens of Aboriginal men, women and children over the years.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service, or ATISOL, said it has documented the lodge’s history as an institution of institutional violence and sexual abuse, with its members subjected to decades of mistreatment, including beatings and rapes.
“The lodge has been a major player in Aboriginal communities for many years, but the circumstances surrounding the deaths and disappearances of so many Aboriginal men and women have never been adequately explained,” ATISL Solicitor-General Simon Johnson said.
“In response to the inquiry, the lodge has agreed to make public its cabinet of death, which contains a detailed and comprehensive record of the deaths that occurred at the lodge over a period of 30 years.”
Its findings will be published on the lodge website and on ATISIL’s website.
“This includes a long list of deaths that it has uncovered, and includes the deaths in the lodge, the deaths at the hands of members of the lodge or their relatives, and other deaths that were not disclosed by the lodge to the public.”
Mr Johnson said the lodge had been involved in the abuse of more than 30 Aboriginal men in the 1990s.
“A number of people, including the lodge president, the chairman and some members of staff have been charged in relation to that, and the lodge continues to investigate all of those people and all of the other allegations,” he said.
Mr Johnson added that the lodge “has repeatedly been held accountable for its role in the deaths”.
“It is in the best interests of all of us to have the information made public, so we can put it behind us so we don’t make those mistakes again,” he told the ABC.
The ATISEL also released the lodge membership data to the ABC, and said that it “supports” the ABC’s requests to release the data.
“It has been the case that members of this lodge, in addition to other Aboriginal groups in this country, have been subject to the maltreatment and assault of men, and women, in their community, over a long period of time,” Mr Johnson said in a statement.
“Our investigation has identified evidence that suggests that members and associates of this institution, particularly those in the leadership, are responsible for those deaths and that there is no excuse for this.”
As a result, we have committed ourselves to releasing the full membership data and to holding our members to account.
“Membership data includes the names, addresses, ages, gender, and date of birth of the members of all Aboriginal lodges in this nation.”
We have also requested that we be provided with any and all documents relating to the death of any members of any Aboriginal lodgings in Australia.
“The lodge’s members have also been required to register with the lodge and disclose any financial gain they make.
Mr Trump said that while it was not the lodge that had profited, it did not “want to be seen to profit from any deaths”.
He said the data also indicated that the number of lodge members who had been charged with “serious or ongoing” crimes was “significantly higher” than the total number of lodges that had died.”
That’s why we are taking action,” Mr Trump said.
He said he had asked the lodge not to publish the data, and would not release the lodge members’ names to the media until the lodge received a formal request from the ABC to do so.”
I am not going to release their names until they have responded to that,” he added.
Mr Jones said he would not comment on the allegations against the lodge until the matter was resolved.
Topics:law-crime-and-justice,courts-and.justice,community-and,justice-administration,indigenous,aboriginal-andamphibian,barbadosFirst posted January 24, 2021 07:50:25More stories from New South Wales