Queensland Premier Peter Beattie is certainly a realist. He understands there’s not much fun in being a policeman forced to deal with drink crazed violence. He knows too that the patience of Job is hard to maintain when provoked by a drunk throwing punches. And above all he realises that things would be a lot worse in Aboriginal communities if police refused to serve in them.

The prospect of just such a police boycott must be giving Mr Beattie more sleepless nights than treated sewage as the Queensland Police Union prepares for meetings throughout the state over the next week to consider industrial action in protest over the recommendation to charge Senior Sergeant Hurley with the manslaughter of Mulrunji Doomadgee as recommended by an independent review of the case by former NSW chief justice Sir Lawrence Street.

At least the Premier can be thankful for the assurance yesterday by union vice president Denis Fitzpatrick that Queenslanders would not see police abandon their responsibilities. A full scale police strike is thus unlikely.

Peter Fray

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