No place for racism in Australia

Reconciliation Australia welcomes the swift response from Penrith Panthers Chief Executive, Brian Fletcher, to the racial abuse experienced by South Sydney star player and captain, Greg Inglis, at Saturday’s Rabbitohs vs Panthers NRL game.

Fletcher’s apology, issued on Sunday morning, was unreserved and promised prompt action in identifying and dealing appropriately with the perpetrators.

“It is encouraging to see the Penrith Panthers, who last year launched their innovate Reconciliation Action Plan, condemn the abuse, apologise, and commit to taking strong action,” said Reconciliation Australia CEO Karen Mundine.

“Greg’s experience is sadly too often the experience of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. However, not all of us have the level of support demonstrated by the NRL to call out the racism as it happens.”

According to the 2016 Australian Reconciliation Barometer, 37% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians reported experiencing verbal racial abuse in the six months prior to the Barometer survey. This in an increase on the previous 2014 Barometer, in which 31% reported experiencing racism.

“Organisations around the country have a critical role to play in ensuring strong responses to racism, including that experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Ms Mundine said.

Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) provide a road map for organisations to affect real, positive change within organisations and across the communities in which they operate.

Reconciliation Australia’s annual RAP Impact Measurement Report consistently reports higher levels of pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures amongst non-Indigenous employees, than expressed by non-Indigenous members of the general community. Higher levels of trust and stronger relationships are also consistently reported.

“I’d like to see more organisations, and individuals, act with courage and call out racism as they experience it, or witness it. There is no place for racism in Australia,” concluded Ms Mundine.

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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