Mal Brough, the former Minister for Indigenous Affairs, and his teenage son mocked Aboriginal culture and the Australian Aboriginal accent during an interview with a Queensland journalist, a recent feature in The Courier Mail’s weekend magazine reveals.
The story, entitled Brough Justice, is a profile of the former federal politician turned leader of the Queensland Liberal Party.
In it, journalist Matthew Fynes-Clinton reveals that during an interview at Brough’s home, he and his son, James, aged 17, break into a mock, impromptu performance of Aboriginal song and dance, which he describes as “jarring”.
“In response to an overly sentimental query about the possibility of him intuitively sensing his Aboriginality, he leaps up and returns with a didgeridoo which he begins to play, left leg hyper-extended,” Mr Fynes-Clinton writes.
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“Son James appears with a pair of clapsticks and joins in with a goofy grin.”
The journalist reveals that even Brough’s wife, Sue, gets in on the ‘gag’.
“While all this is going on, Sue remarks that Mal has a predilection for lighting camp-style fires on their property.
“When Brough finally lays down the didge, his tongue stays firmly in his cheek: ‘I just like sitting around fires playing the didgeridoo,’ he says. ‘How does that mean anything.’
“Earlier I’d heard James and his father bantering in what might politely be termed ‘mimicry of Indigenous-spoken English’. These displays … are a little jarring.”
Queensland Nationals spokesperson for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Rob Messenger told NIT today that although he was not familiar with the story, public figures should not mock Indigenous people or culture.
“I’ve seen an Indigenous stand up artist mocking himself – that’s appropriate. But certainly it’s not appropriate for any public figure to mock Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander persons … It’s not on. Generally, if anyone’s been found guilty of mocking Indigenous people or Torres Strait Islander people, I think it is appropriate that they apologise for that.”
Over the weekend, Mr Brough was elected president of the Queensland Liberals. We have invited Mr Brough to respond to the article, but we are still awaiting comment.
Reproduced from The National Indigenous Times website.