Everyone, repeat after me, one
more time: the Prime Minister says Australia does not have a problem with
racism.

Which is comforting because if
you’d been watching BBC World News overnight, on cable, you might
have noticed a scroll that mentioned South Africa was considering boycotting
future cricket tours of Australia because of on-going racist
taunts.

So, let’s consider that for a moment.
South Africa, only 16 years after Nelson
Mandela was still in jail and the Apartheid regime in place, is rightfully
accusing Australian crowds of overt racism. Plus, this comes a day after The Age reported that overall tourism
numbers are down, partly because of “perceptions that Australia is no longer an attractive
destination.”

The BBC was following the story from
the CapeTimes,
which quoted South African cricket boss Gerald Majola as threatening the
boycott, if the racist taunting continues.

“It is very serious and if it continues, yes, we
would look very seriously about whether we return here for another
series,” Majola told the CapeTimes, while visiting Perth to support his team.

“It is not right when a country has a history
like ours,” he said. “It is something that we never thought we would
hear about. The sad thing is it has continued around Australia. It hasn’t just been limited to one state or one
city.”

South African captain Graeme
Smith said playing against the Sri Lankan team had been much more pleasant for
the team, although it is believed that most of the racial taunting had come
from South African expatriates.

Australian cricket authorities
continue to wrestle with the problem, with the Smage today reporting that one potential response would be to ban
fans identified as vocally racist.

Peter Fray

Get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for $12.

Without subscribers, Crikey can’t do what it does. Fortunately, our support base is growing.

Every day, Crikey aims to bring new and challenging insights into politics, business, national affairs, media and society. We lift up the rocks that other news media largely ignore. Without your support, more of those rocks – and the secrets beneath them — will remain lodged in the dirt.

Join today and get your first 12 weeks of Crikey for just $12.

 

Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

JOIN NOW