Assassination Of Mr Donald Mackay

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SpeakersNile The Hon Elaine


The Hon. ELAINE NILE [10.41 p.m.]: In remembrance of the twenty-first anniversary of the assassination of Don Mackay in Griffith on 15 July 1977, I will read a poem written by his wife, Barbara. As the House has been debating the drugs ongoing dealing bill it is timely that we remember Don tonight. The poem is:
      I wonder what it feels like when you kiss and go to bed,
      How often you remember that some teenager is dead.
      Another life is over, and some more potential lost,
      Just one of the many hundreds, have you stopped to count the cost?
      When you gather with your family, and revel in your wealth,
      You may think you have succeeded, but you robbed our town by stealth.
      You have kept your Code of Silence, you have always found your bail,
      You have paid for top-class lawyers, who have kept you out of jail.
      As the years have brought prosperity the drugs have kept on flowing,
      But our problems are enormous, and the price we pay is growing.
      When you kneel beside your children and you tuck them in with hugs,
      I wonder do you tell them that your riches came from drugs?
      Does your Code of Silence stop you from telling them the truth,
      Or will they grow up just like you and suppress ideals of youth?
      I wonder where your conscience is and if you have regrets
      Or are you now quite hardened as your heart of concrete sets?
      The crops have been successful and the millions made invested
      The profits now are washed and clean, and no one has protested.
      Though all your crimes are obvious, the Truth is hidden still,
      Some say it never will come out, but I believe it will.
      One day those kids who died on drugs will maybe ask you why,
      You’ll have to face them all one day, each one you caused to die.
      I wonder if you ever think - of the millions you have made
      And the lives destroyed along the way - before your memories fade?

That poem will form the basis of a book Barbara Mackay has written called Before I Forget. It is timely to remember Don Mackay because I believe, considering what happened in the debate tonight, that this House has forgotten about his death. Donald Mackay’s death warrant was signed soon after police diaries were admitted as evidence in a 1977 drug trial. The diaries named Mackay as the source of information that led to police executing what was then the biggest drug bust in Australian history at Coleambally, near Griffith. Police raided another property at Euston, 300 kilometres west of Griffith, the day before the Coleambally trial started and discovered another huge marijuana crop.

Both crops belonged to Griffith organised crime bosses. The raids cost them $42 million in lost sales and many thousands of dollars in legal fees to defend those charged. The police diaries, obtained by the defence, prompted them to blame Mackay, wrongly, in relation to the Euston bust as he was not the informer on that one. Don Mackay, as president of the local branch of the Liberal Party and a Liberal Party State and Federal candidate on three occasions, had campaigned strongly against organised crime and drug growing in Griffith.

So, our sincere sympathy goes out to Barbara tonight as she approaches 15 July, the twenty-first anniversary of the assassination of her husband. The bill that was passed this evening will cause her much heartache when she sees how lightly it treated marijuana, mainly because the Government and the crossbenchers voted for it.