Demands for resignation over racist slur
By Bill Mason
BRISBANE — Calls are mounting for the resignation or sacking of Queensland Labor government whip Bill Prest over racist comments in state parliament on August 20. Prest described former National Party Aboriginal affairs minister Bob Katter as a "gin jockey".
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) and the Queensland Council for Civil Liberties have called for action against Prest. Despite an apology made under pressure from Premier Wayne Goss, the whip may have to go to save the government further embarrassment.
Senior adviser to the state Aboriginal and Islander Affairs Department Marcia Langton has resigned in protest over the affair as well as a report in the Canberra Times quoting a leading government source critical of "buppies (black urban professionals) from West End who tried to live like whites and charged even more than white consultants".
"Mr Goss has to take a stand on leadership on the question of racism because it is clear there is at least one redneck in his government who opens his mouth before he thinks", said Langton.
"No member of parliament who has been elected by the people should be allowed to defame any person on the basis of their race," said ATSIC women's group president Shirley Blackman. Aboriginal demonstrators demanded Prest's sacking during a picket of a business lunch addressed by Wayne Goss on August 23.