Page 2273 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

I applaud all the efforts to counter the harassment of Goodes and all those speaking out against racist harassment, including the fans at the game who risked having a yobbo mob turn on them. But it is a tragedy for race relations in the country that the bar is now set so low that we might see it as a great moment if a crowd does not constantly boo one of our greatest Aboriginal sportsmen as he displays his skill and courage.

Some say they boo because they do not like the way he plays. Yet he has won the highest award, the Brownlow award for best and fairest, twice. The constant booing intensified when he identified a spectator yelling racial abuse at him. It was not of Goodes’s choosing that she was a 13-year-old girl; he reacted to one of the many offensive taunts—as anyone might who, say, had a rock thrown at their car and wanted to complain about it.

Some say he should harden up. Well, he wears his heart and his race on his sleeve. He is who life has made him. We know that there are a million excuses and evasions as to why footy crowds are booing him, but at heart we know that the core of it is racist and it is designed to crush and humiliate.

Some say it was his dance that upset the mob—that it was too aggressive for an Aboriginal man to perform in front of white people. Footy is rich in the metaphors of violence. It is in the lyrics of the club songs, the hyperbole of sports journals. Even a team is called the Bombers. But when an Aboriginal man displays his culture within the context of a sporting success, suddenly it is too aggressive for comfort.

Some people do need to toughen up. But they are not on the football field. I like to cite Cathy Freeman’s 400 metres victory as a great moment of reconciliation. Black and white Australia came together in a shared achievement. She symbolised that reconciliation by proudly carrying the Aboriginal and Australian flags of her heritage. The mutterings by some about her flying the Aboriginal flag were drowned out by the majority who were thrilled by her achievement.

At a deeper level, we can celebrate our diversity and our many cultures and peoples that make Australia great. We need to say well done to Adam Goodes. We are proud of you and your skill and courage on and off the field.

DonateLife Week

MR DOSZPOT (Molonglo) (5.33): A week ago I spoke to a Canberra constituent who gave me quite an insight into the predicament of many in our community. The constituent, now in his 40s, is on dialysis awaiting a kidney transplant. He first started dialysis at age 12 and received his first kidney transplant when he was 14. That transplant failed when he was 22, and he again continued dialysis, until he was 29, when he received a kidney from his father. However, that transplant failed 10 years later. He is currently on dialysis again, awaiting a kidney transplant.

There are many others in our community in such circumstances, and that brings us to the importance of DonateLife Week, which began on Sunday, 2 August and will

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video