Sophie Black writes:

The community of Mutitjulu have scored a victory against the
government with the Federal Court decision to limit the government
appointed administrator’s powers, solicitor George
Newhouse has told Crikey. And importantly, the judge also gave lawyers for Mutitjulu the
opportunity to include Minister Brough in their court action.

Lawyers for the community sought an injunction in the Federal
Court to prevent the administrator from
exercising his powers.
The court ruled that the administrator, Brian McMaster from KordaMentha, can only exercise his powers to continue the community’s day-to-day
activities and can’t hire or fire staff.

Newhouse told Crikey he
suspects “there’s an orchestrated campaign against this

In what many community members believe to be the fallout from the Lateline‘s report into sexual abuse in Mutitjulu, the Mutitjulu Community Aboriginal Corp has received no funding since
1 July, and was given 25 hours’ notice last week to show cause as to why an
administrator should not be appointed. [see below]

According to Newhouse,
the community of Mutitjulu still doesn’t know why their
funds were frozen. “There is
no need for an administrator to be appointed to this community,” he
said. “Social problems should not be dealt with by the appointment of a
white accountant from Perth.”

As for the possibility of including Minister Brough in their court action, Newhouse says, “the judge
correctly pointed out that it was the minister’s, or the department’s, decision
to starve the corporation of funds that led the registrar to reluctantly take
this course of action [appointment of an administrator] … Because it was that
decision that precipitated the appointment that may be an administrative decision that
is challengable…”

“If we are given the
go ahead…the minister can be assured that we will be subpoenaing all relevant
documents,” Newhouse said.

All relevant documents. Could that include correspondence from public servant/anonymous youth worker Greg Andrews?

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey