Indigenous footy star turned ABC presenter says Australians ‘can’t accept it’s a racist country’ ‘built on the backs of slavery and rape’ of Aboriginal people during emotional appearance on The Project
- Aboriginal AFL player claimed Australia was a racist country built on slavery
- Tony Armstrong made the comment while promoting the movie ‘Incarceration Nation’
- Documentary looks at Indigenous incarceration rates and treatment in Australia
- A visibly emotional Armstrong admitted the documentary was ‘hard to watch’
An Aboriginal ex-AFL player has labeled Australia as racist after weighing in on a new documentary examining the appalling rates of Indigenous incarceration.
Tony Armstrong, who played 35 games for three clubs in six seasons, argued that Australians had to accept living in a racist country after watching disturbing images of ‘Incarceration Nation’.
The documentary delves deep into jail sentences across the country, with Aboriginal men making up 29 percent of the male prison population and Aboriginal women 34 percent of female inmates.
“This country still cannot accept that it is a racist country,” Armstrong said on Channel 10’s The Project on Thursday.
“You still can’t accept that it was built on the backs of slavery, on the backs of expropriation, on the backs of rape and looting of indigenous peoples.”
Tony Armstrong has labeled Australia as racist after collaborating on a new documentary examining appalling rates of Indigenous incarceration
Armstrong argued Australians had to accept living in a racist country after watching disturbing footage of ‘Incarceration Nation’
The former sports star turned ABC host was invited on the talk show panel to speak about the upcoming documentary.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prison sentences have increased by 12,456 behind bars between July 2019 and June 2020 over the past decade.
The figure has increased from 11,989 in the previous year and 7,507 in 2010-2011.
The documentary revealed a staggering number of young Aboriginal Australians were thrown behind bars – some for committing petty crimes.
One was a 16-year-old who was jailed for 28 days after stealing a bottle of water. Another was an 18-year-old who was jailed for up to 90 days for stealing 90 cents from a car.
A visibly emotional Armstrong admitted it was “hard to watch” at the disturbing footage.
“My heart is going a million miles an hour,” he said. “There are so many points to pick up.
“We’re talking incarceration rates, you don’t see white kids going to jail for stealing a bottle of water.
“You try to find a way to rehabilitate them, you wonder what are the reasons why they ended up stealing that bottle of water? You don’t just throw them with the long arm of the law.’
The former sports star turned ABC host was invited to the talk show panel to speak about the upcoming documentary
A visibly emotional Armstrong admitted it was ‘difficult’ to watch the disturbing footage
Footage also shows Aboriginal Australians being beaten, tasered and flung around by the police.
A 14-year-old Dylan Voller was shown in juvenile detention in 2015 wearing a hood and tied to a chair.
ABC’s Four Corners first broadcast the images during an explosive investigative piece in 2016. The photos sent shockwaves across the country and raised questions about the treatment of young inmates.
“You’ve seen the footage of the young guy tied up like Guantanamo Bay,” Armstrong said.
‘That’s not on. But that happens in our country. And we talk about a sense of truth telling, we talk about, you know, having to accept where we come from in order to move forward.’