Debroah Sandy and Maroochy Barambah who had a verbal altercation at the Premier's Christmas party.
Debroah Sandy and Maroochy Barambah who had a verbal altercation at the Premier's Christmas party.

Elder speaks out after Xmas bash clash

One of the Aboriginal elders involved in an extraordinary stoush at the Premier's Christmas reception says she has no regrets about challenging her rival to 'step outside'.

Deborah Sandy and her father Des were invited to speak at the Premier's traditional Christmas affair at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre on Tuesday night when they were heckled by a woman she identified as Aboriginal activist Maroochy Barambah, in scenes that grew so heated the Queensland Police Commissioner was forced to intervene.

Ms Barambah, formerly known as Yvette Isaacs, was part of an unsuccessful bid to declare native title over parts of Brisbane, which was rejected by the Federal Court in 2015.

Speaking to The Sunday Mail, Ms Sandy, a well-known Jagera elder, said she did not regret her role in the incident.

Aunty Deborah Sandy. Picture: Steve Pohlner / AAP
Aunty Deborah Sandy. Picture: Steve Pohlner / AAP

"It's my job to protect the elders from disrespectful people," she said.

"That wasn't any elder - that was my dad.

"I'm a warrior princess, I came from a long line of warriors, a strong people."

She said the heckling started before her father had even started his welcome to country address.

"She just kept going and going, heckling absurdities and when it was my turn to talk I said: 'knock it off or step outside'."

"Don't be disrespectful to the elders - you don't do that."

Desmond Sandy and daughter Deborah Sandy at Parliament House. Picture: supplied.
Desmond Sandy and daughter Deborah Sandy at Parliament House. Picture: supplied.

The heckler stunned the audience by shouting that the land did not belong to the pair on stage and that her own people had been massacred.

The yelling and interjections continued as Ms Palaszczuk, Mr Miles and gobsmacked guests watched on at the strictly invitation-only event.

Commissioner Katarina Carroll eventually approached Ms Barambah and asked her to be quiet, while Ms Sandy said security should have forced the woman to leave.

Ms Sandy said she had no intention of confronting Ms Barambah after the formalities had finished.

"It was the Premier's event, you don't go around making a scene," she said.

Maroochy Barambah opening QPAC’s 30th birthday celebrations.
Maroochy Barambah opening QPAC’s 30th birthday celebrations.

Others present on the night also identified Ms Barambah as the heckler.

Ms Barambah, a decorated soprano singer who has appeared on stage and screen, could not be reached for comment.

 

Originally published as Elder speaks out after Xmas bash clash


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