Indigenous challenge to Adani loses witnesses
AN INDIGENOUS group's legal attempt stop the Carmichael mine stumbled at the gate after evidence was struck out and witnesses went missing.
Central Queensland people, the Wangan and Jagalingou, have asked the Federal Court to overturn an indigenous Land Use Agreement for the controversial Adani mine.
W&J claims ineligible people voted in a meeting to approve the agreement with the multinational company.
But in court on Monday W&J lawyers agreed paragraphs from multiple witness statements, including from outspoken member Adrian Burragubba, be removed while Justice John Reeves struck out others without consent.
Adani's lawyers argued one witness statement who said the mine would "damage my grandmother's land” was irrelevant to the case as it was not linked to whether the ILUA was legally approved.
After hours of legal argument over what evidence was relevant, W&J barrister Stephen Keim was unable to find the people he was calling to the witness box. Two witnesses had left the courthouse and the third called was not needed for cross-examination.
One of the initially missing witnesses, W&J man Craig Dallen, later told the court an indigenous person could only be a member of one ancestral group.
Under cross-examination, Mr Dallen said he believed people who were not W&J members had attended their meetings and voted on the ILUA.
He said he had chosen to be a W&J member instead of his grandmother's people who lived in the Bundaberg area.
"In our culture if you belong to one tribe you cannot belong to another,” he said.
"Some of the people who were going to our meetings were going to other meetings as well.”
Mr Dallen said he could have challenged those people he did not believe were genuine members, but had not done so.
The hearing is expected to continue for two more days. -NewsRegional