Indigenous journalist Stan Grant delivered a speech on racism at the IQ2 Racism Debate held last October in Sydney.
It’s now going viral in the lead-up to Australia Day.
The speech has prompted widespread reaction with media commentator, Mike Carlton, describing Grant’s speech as Australia’s “Martin Luther King moment” on Twitter.
Grant, who is of Aboriginal ancestry from the Wiradjuri, began his speech with a reference to retired Sydney Swans player and 2014 Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes.
“Thousands of voices rose to hound an indigenous man, a man who was told he wasn’t Australian, a man who was told he wasn’t Australian of the Year. And they hounded that man into submission,” he said.
“We heard a howl of humiliation that echoes across two centuries of dispossession, injustice, suffering and survival. We heard the howl of the Australian dream and it said to us again: you’re not welcome.”
Grant, who has also won a Walkley Award for his coverage on indigenous affairs, then went on to discuss high incarceration rates and and low life expectancy among indigenous Australians.
“My people die young in this country — we die 10 years younger than average Australians — and we are far from free.
“We are fewer than 3% of the Australian population and yet we are 25% – one quarter – of those Australians locked up in our prisons. And if you’re a juvenile it is worse, it is 50%. An Indigenous child is more likely to be locked up in prison than they are to finish high school.”
Grant said indigenous “rights were extinguished” upon British colonisation of Australia and that he was “counted among the flora and fauna, not among the citizens of this country” when he was born in 1963.
“By 1901 when we became a nation, we were nowhere, we were not in the constitution. Save for race provisions which allowed for laws to be made which would take our children that would invade out privacy, that would tell us who we could marry and where we could live. The Australian dream.”
“Of course racism is killing the Australian dream,” said Grant towards the end of his address.
“But we are better than that.
“One day, I want to stand here and be able to say as proudly, and sing as loudly as anyone else in the room, ‘Australians ALL let us rejoice.’”
His address has since triggered strong responses from the Australian public:
— Mike Carlton (@MikeCarlton01) January 22, 2016
— Scott Kilmartin (@ScottKilmartin) January 23, 2016
— Bernadette McSherry (@bmcsherr) January 23, 2016
— George Vardas (@VardasGeorge) January 22, 2016
— Anna Hohenboken (@anna_hohenboken) January 22, 2016
You can watch the speech in full here.