Parliamentary speeches

Racism (1)

August 24, 2021

Watching Eddie Betts on the football field brought me and so many others such joy, but throughout his wonderful career he was subjected to awful racism on the field and off it, and to watch him speaking of this in recent weeks was as compelling as any of his goals of the year. Those words and how they were spoken demand action—for all of us to recognise the persistence of the scourge that is racism and all of its impacts. Eddie Betts has spoken of his exhaustion at explaining what had been done to him and why this matters. Those of us who haven't been subjected to racism ourselves must respond to this—stand up and be counted.

Racism in football isn't just a matter for the AFL; it's a reflection of racism in our society more broadly. While I know the vast majority of Australians reject its destructive ugliness, this itself isn't enough. People today are being hurt. People feel exhausted. And we are all diminished. We need to do more: as individuals, to no longer walk past or pretend not to notice; and collectively, as a society, to set the standard we demand of each and every one of us; to end this, together; to share in the responsibility to end racism; and in particular, for all of us elected to this place, to make the difference we have the power to make—to deliver a national antiracism strategy, with zero tolerance at its core. Surely this is something we can all commit to?