It’s hard to determine which is more offensive. The derogatory slur on Indigenous culture made by a teenage ‘schoolie’ at Surfers Paradise, the fact it prompted laughter from the Gold Coast Young LNP chair Barclay McGain, or the fact the video of the sorry saga was published online by the Gold Coast Young LNP.
The video has since been removed, and McGain has been suspended from the party pending an investigation, but the fact it was shared in the first place speaks volumes. Presumably no one involved in the decision to broadcast the clip saw anything remotely problematic in the vox-pop. And that is deeply problematic.
The Gold Coast Young LNP have deleted their Facebook page after publishing this video today. It shows their chair, Barclay McGain laughing at the statement "we gotta stop celebrating a culture that didn't invent the bloody wheel for god sake" speaking about First Nations People. pic.twitter.com/1XzWkXOJeH
— Dylan Storer (@StorerDylan) December 2, 2019
In the video McGain was interviewing schoolies on the Gold Coast and asked one group of teenagers whether the Australian flag and anthem should be “kept or ditched”
“Personally, I’m fed up with having all these sport stars stand out on our stages and not sing the national anthem,” one teenager, who it has been reported is an LNP volunteer, said.
“They’re putting our Australian jumper on, they’re going to sing the anthem.
“I mean, we’ve got to stop celebrating a culture that couldn’t even invent the bloody wheel for God’s sake — we’ve got to start enjoying and living in western culture.”
Queensland’s Labor Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch, a proud Quandamooka woman, described the footage as “disturbing on many levels”.
“The Opposition leader needs to call out these statements for what they are and that’s racist,” Enoch said. “These kinds of views should not be allowed to simmer within any organisation.”
Deb Frecklington, the Queensland LNP leader, described the comments as “inappropriate” and said the party is taking action but would not be drawn on what that action is.
LNP Leader Deb Frecklington has responded – delivering the same line at least five times. pic.twitter.com/Zk9cQhshqD
— Josh Bavas (@JoshBavas) December 3, 2019
In a statement the LNP said the video did not reflect the “values and beliefs of the Party”.
“The members involved will be subject to the LNP’s internal disciplinary process,” it read. “All LNP members are expected to uphold the values of the Party at all times.”
It is difficult not to despair about the actual ‘values’ of a political party in which young members think nothing of openly disparaging the culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Can any suspension or investigation address that?