Bigots of Oz

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The Independent Online
Bigots of Oz

THAT Aussie sense of fun - it just never lets up! A newly arrived antipodean visitor who came on Qantas tells me that the safety announcement on his flight went like this:

"The following video demonstrates important safety features of this aircraft. Please watch carefully. If you don't, we're going to come down and smack you.''

And that was just warming up on the runway: when they reach 35,000 feet, Qantas hosties can really hit their stride. On a flight last week for example, for example, a white woman travelling with three Aboriginal artists was surprised to be approached several times on the flight by cabin crew, who, rolling their eyes significantly in the direction of her companions, kept saying wouldn't madam prefer to sit elsewhere, and there was a very nice vacant window seat they had located. This was obviously tongue-in- cheek. After all, Qantas is the airline which is presently repainting its fleet with Aboriginal designs. Now I know that Australiam racism is a thing apart and beyond compare - I've met several Melbournians who detest Aborigines without the advantage of ever having set eyes on one - but it's impossible to believe that even Australians would cover the outer skin of their aircraft with ethnic motifs and, on the inside, reel away from the dark-skinned artists responsible.