Press Release QAIHC Arthur Beetson Murri Rugby League Carnival 2014
The Arthur Beetson Foundation today announced it’s ruling on a protest made at the recent QAIHC Arthur Beetson Murri Rugby League Carnival. Chairman Steven Johnson said that the runners up of the Men’s final Kulpiyam challenged the eligibility of one of the players in the winning team the Southern Dingoes Blue. Mr Johnson said that as an event sanctioned by the Queensland Rugby League no person may play in the Carnival if they are under a current suspension from the QRL. The central issue was that the player in question held the belief that his suspension had expired and he was eligible to play.
After consulting with the QRL the Foundation established that the player was mistaken, that his suspension was current and that consequently he was ineligible to play in the match. Mr Johnson announced that as a consequence of the Southern Dingoes Blue playing an ineligible person in the final the protest has been upheld and that the winners of the Deadly Choices Open Men’s Competition is now Kulpiyam. Mr Johnson stressed that the finding shouldn’t mar what was the best Carnival held to date, showcasing some amazing rugby league played before record crowds and importantly helping the Carnival’s sponsors’ Deadly Choices and the Queensland Aboriginal & Islander Health Council (QAIHC) make a real difference in health outcomes for Indigenous Australians. Mr Johnson emphasised the contribution that Deadly Choices and QAIHC make to the Carnival and that the decision is in line with the expectations and values of these sponsors.
Mr Johnson noted that the Murri Carnival was both tobacco and alcohol free and, in what he believes is an Australian first, was also sugar-free with all sugary drinks banned from the venue in response to the growing diabetes epidemic in the Murri community. Mr Johnson also noted the positive health and education impact of the Carnival’s rules which state all adult players must undergo a health check and be enrolled to vote and that all junior (under-15) players must have a health check and have a 90% school attendance record from the 1st of July to the date of the Carnival.
Mr Johnson hoped that the resolution of the matter should end unwarranted speculation within the community and that the Foundation had to take the time to act fairly and respect the rights of all. Mr Johnson said that the time and effort taken to resolve the protest indicated the professionalism of the Murri Carnival, and that the Carnival’s organisers and sponsors retained the strong support and confidence of the Murri community. The Foundation will work with the QRL to implement systems for determining player eligibility prior to participating in future Murri Carnivals.
The runner-up for the 2014 Carnival will be shared by the Ngalpun Warriors and the Saguci Tigers. Representatives from the Arthur Beetson Foundation will travel to Badu Island in the Torres Strait to present the winning trophy to Kulpiyam. Mr Selwyn Apanui of the Southern Dingoes Blue apologised for the incident but confirmed that it was an innocent mistake by the team who relied on information from the player that appeared to show the suspension had ended. Mr Apanui said the team accepts the decision with good grace and affirmed Mr Johnson’s comments about the Carnival being a wonderful success.
About The Arthur Beetson Foundation
Arthur Beetson was a great Australian. Arthur was the first Indigenous Australian to captain his country and is one of the eight Immortals of the game of Rugby League. Arthur’s life work was about helping young Australians, particularly Indigenous Australians, achieve better life outcomes in the key areas of health, education and welfare. On Arthur’s passing, in conjunction with his sons, The Arthur Beetson Foundation was established so that we may live his legacy and continue the remarkable work that he did. The Foundation was appointed by the Qld Rugby League to conduct the Indigenous Carnival (the Murri Carnival).
About The Murri Carnival
The Murri Carnival is a very important date on the Indigenous calendar and is much more than a rugby league event. The Carnival has certain basic rules. An adult person cannot play in the Carnival unless they:
. undergo a health check; and
. enrol to vote or, if enrolled, make sure that their enrolment details are current.
An under 15 player cannot play in the Carnival unless they;
. undergo a health check; and
. have a 90% school attendance record from the 1st of July to the date of the Carnival.
Each year a number of people are identified as possible suffers of diabetes a disease that shortens the life span of too many Indigenous Australians.
This year an under 15 side will travel to New Zealand and a Men’s team will travel to Fiji to play and take part in a cultural exchange. On October 18th both Men’s and Women’s teams will play the Maori at Wynnum. The QRL Indigenous under 15 team will also play the curtain raiser to the NRL Indigenous All Star Game at Suncorp Stadium in February 2015 against a New South Wales Koori team.