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Friday, May 3, 2013

Aboriginal actors refused taxi ride in Melbourne

Four separate cabs booked to pick up a group of indigenous actors, refused to let them into their vehicles once they saw they were Aboriginal.  After all attempts failed, they had to hide around a corner while a white person flagged one down and when it stopped, they ran over quickly and jumped in before he could drive off.

Natasha Wanganeen

The group are in Melbourne to rehearse Shadow King, an indigenous adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear for the Malthouse Theatre.  The group includes Tom E Lewis, star of The Chant of Billy Blacksmith and Natasha Wanganeen, star of Rabbit-Proof Fence.

Tom E Lewis

The Malthouse issued the cast with Myki cards - tickets that allow people to travel on public transport around the city - but several cast members were bailed up on a city tram on Tuesday morning when a fellow passenger yelled "You Aboriginal people, you don't exist in this country, you don't even have tickets."  The passenger told the driver to put them off the tram, but he refused.

David Samuel, chief executive of the Victorian Taxi Association said the drivers would be interviewed to find out why they did it. Taxi regulations clearly state that drivers must accept all fares, regardless of how far the passenger wants to travel, which makes me wonder if they are using the excuse that the fare was only a short distance away and not worth bothering with.

It's hard to know why the cab drivers refused to take them, these people weren't drunk and disorderly, they were just trying to get back to their hotel after work. 

Maybe the man on the tram was angry because of the concessions and handouts they are entitled to as indigenous Australians, but who knows, the reason seems more likely to be blatant racism.  Any wonder they prefer to stay in remote communities miles away from cities and white people when they get treated like this.  Disgusting.