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.