Australian barrister's racist mockery of Aboriginal community sparks outrage
A leading barrister and senior counsel at the trouble-plagued St John's College in Sydney has sparked outrage after mocking the Aboriginal community during an official dinner at the University of Sydney.
Jeffrey Phillips, SC, stood in the college's 150-year-old Great Hall and, in front of more than 250 staff, students and guests, paid tribute to the 'traditional custodians of this place' whom he identified as being the 'Benedictines who came from the great English nation'.
The comment was made in the presence of several indigenous students, one of whom has lodged a formal complaint and, according to senior staff, remains 'deeply traumatised'.
"How disgusting, how disgraceful, how disrespectful are those comments. I am outraged and I am disturbed. For that to have been said at the university, in a room full of students, I am almost speechless," Mark Spinks, a respected member of Sydney's Aboriginal community and chairman of the Aboriginal men's group Babana, said.
''It's totally unacceptable but what he's saying is acceptable, or has been deemed acceptable within the culture of the college. It's just an indication of how deep the rot goes,'' news.com.au quoted The sociologist Eva Cox, as saying.
According to the report, the University of Sydney's vice-chancellor, Michael Spence, too condemned Phillips' remarks.
''The university is very proud of the fact that it stands on land where indigenous peoples have been teaching and learning for many thousands of years before us and we acknowledge this publicly whenever we can,'' he said.