You are here: Home / Media / An open letter from Mr Michael Mundine to all of Redfern Waterloo calling for a boycott of Minister Frank Sartor and the RWA - 4th October 2005

An open letter from Mr Michael Mundine to all of Redfern Waterloo calling for a boycott of Minister Frank Sartor and the RWA - 4th October 2005

By now most people in Redfem and Waterloo have heard about Minister Frank Sartor's racial slur towards me, last week on Koori radio. However, many of you may not have read the full quote. The Minister was speaking about an open reply letter I wrote to him, published in a local newspaper, when he said: "I am glad he wrote this long letter, got him off his backside for a change. He won't like that much but I should say that to him more. Get off your backside Mick and bring your black arse in here to talk to me about it."

The mainstream media and general public have focused on the words `black arse' and missed the point completely. When the statement is read in its entirety the Minister is clearly trying to reignite the old racist stereotype that being Aboriginal equates to being lazy, as his way of explaining why our negotiations have stalled. That is what I find racist about his comment.

The Minister realised what he said was offensive and quickly tried to cover up his racism with a lie. He defended his use of this offensive language by suggesting he and I have a close friendship, and we joke like that all the time. This is a complete fabrication and exclusively a product of Mr. Sartor's s active imagination. In fact, Mr. Sartor and I are in a bitter dispute over his attempts to grab control of privately owned Aboriginal land, so he can carry out his plan to profiteer on the sale of our local public assets and gentrify Redfern.

Mr. Sartor has given a political apology in front of the media; and as an Aboriginal leader, as a Christian and in accordance with my culture I accepted his apology. But in no way did my acceptance of his apology validate or excuse what is one of the most scandalous and disgraceful abuses of power by a government Minister, targeting Aboriginal people, in recent memory.

In response to the overwhelming community outcry, from both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people, I have come to realise that Mr Sartor has no credibility left in Redfern and his position here is no longer tenable.

Therefore, I have asked the Minister to remove himself from the Redfern Waterloo portfolio. He has admitted publicly that he didn't want the job and the community now no longer wants him, so logically Mr. Sartor should relinquish this portfolio.

But his refusal to step aside and his continued arrogance is proof that he does not have the best interests of the Redfern-Waterloo community in. mind. I fear that if this Minister treats our community with such contempt and gives so little consideration to our wishes on such an important public issue, what are the chances he will listen to the people of Redfern Waterloo on any other issue we find ourselves in disagreement over.

Minster Frank Sartor thinks he is above the law, above the common standards of decency and most of all above the community.

In Mr. Sartor's plan for Redfern, The Block is only his first victim. If we turn a blind eye for long enough the Minister will sell our school, our courthouse, our hospital, our railway station and all our public housing to developers. Before we realise it Minister Saner will have dismantled every last brick in the social fabric of our community. No one in Redfern-Waterloo is beyond the reach of Minister Sartor and it won't be long before we lose everything we love about Redfern-Waterloo.

If we stand united, together we can defeat this threat to our home. And so I call on all the residents (Aboriginal and multicultural) and NGOs of Redfern and Waterloo to boycott Frank Sartor and his Redfern Waterloo Authority; until the Minister does the right thing and steps aside from this portfolio.

Yours in solidarity,

Michael Mundine Snr JP
CEO of the Aboriginal Housing Company

From The South Sydney Herald October 2005 page 1.The article ran the following editorial introduction:

This paper originally invited the Aboriginal Housing Company to use this space to respond to the open letter from Frank Sartor in his Redfern-Waterloo Update, August 2005 edition. We held that using public money to present only his letter was an unequal act by Frank Sartor. Recent events have changed circumstances somewhat; and we have invited Mick Mundine to share this letter with South Sydney readers. The Managing Editor