Licensed venues face discrimination claim

AN INDIGENOUS leader has accused local pubs and clubs of discrimination after Aboriginal mourners were refused entry to premises at two recent wakes.

CEO of the local Aboriginal Land Council Graham Kilby said a number of patrons were turned away from a local club and hotel following funerals in November and December.

He raised the issue at the last meeting of the Griffith City Council Aboriginal Advisory Board and has taken up the matter with police and the Griffith Liquor Accord.

He said on two occasions, elderly mourners have been turned away at the door because they did not have photo identification.

"Some premises have been a bit over the top," Mr Kilby said.

"These are elderly people who are turned away because they don’t have photo ID. They were from Canberra and Melbourne and don’t have licences and aren’t going to be carrying their passports with them.

"On one occasion, a club had let the lady in earlier that day to play the pokies but when she returned later with a group of Aboriginal people she was refused entry."

Police have a policy of informing licensed premises if a large Aboriginal funeral or other mass public event is planned in the city.

"But that has a detrimental effect on us because they dramatically tighten up security," Mr Kilby said.

"This sort of treatment needs to stop, we just want to be treated like everyone else. If it was a white person’s wake, mourners would be allowed in without getting the third degree."

He accepted large gathering of Aboriginals had "historically caused problems at times" but said respect worked both ways.

"There may have been fights at 21st birthday parties and the like but certainly not at funerals," he said.

Griffith Liquor Accord chairman and Griffith Hotel licencee Tim Oliveri rejected claims local venues treated Aboriginal patrons differently.

"All licensed premises have certain criteria they must meet before letting people in and part of that is needing a form of identification," Mr Oliveri said.

"There’s certainly no discrimination at my hotel and I wouldn’t think at any other. We see all races in here and the only thing we don’t tolerate is bad behaviour."


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