MEDIA STATEMENT BY THE ABORIGINAL LEGAL SERVICE OF WA (INC.) Friday 18 June 2010
Racist attitudes rife says ALSWA
In an Open Letter to community and media on Friday 18 June 2010, ALSWA CEO Dennis Eggington wrote:
As Australia’s soccer team competes proudly on the world stage in South Africa, a country that has courageously challenged its racist past, our country has once again been reminded of how deep our own racist attitudes run.
Only this week we have seen the two major domestic sporting codes of AFL and ARL once again being infected by the bile of ignorance.
Denialists, who are generally not members of the specific cultural group being vilified, may wish to explain these examples away as misguided humour or spur of the moment comments, but sadly, hurtful incidences such as these are not isolated occurrences.
Also this week we have seen the Crime and Misconduct Commission’s report damning the Queensland Police investigation and subsequent internal review of the tragic 2004 Palm Island death in custody. The report highlighted serious flaws in both investigations, along with the lack of high ethics and the culture of cover up within the Queensland Police Service. The report sadly and profoundly demonstrates that racism is as prevalent on the sporting field as it is in the justice system.
For a country that espouses the ‘Fair Go’ ethos, the goal of equality is still a long way off. When will Australia’s Indigenous kids be free to excel on the sporting fields without the fear of racism? When, in the tragic circumstance where someone dies in police custody, will the matter be afforded an independent investigation, regardless of their cultural background?
As the world celebrates the magnificent spectacle that is the World Cup in a country that has looked honestly into its own heart, many Australians will be wondering when this country will do the same.
Australia may not be seen as racist if you’re part of this country’s power group but if you’re on the other side of the white boundary line, you may find a different experience altogether.
Let us ‘red card’ ignorance by tackling the issue of racism head on. Maybe then we can start kicking some goals in advancing Australia fairly.