Indigenous actor Jack Charles refused taxi again



Indigenous actor Uncle Jack Charles says he has once again been refused a taxi in Melbourne based on his race, calling the incident embarrassing.

The 2015 Senior Victorian Australian of the Year said he was “sitting at home seething” over the incident in Melbourne on Wednesday.

Mr Charles spoke out six months ago after he was rejected by taxi drivers twice in one week, including after the Victorian Australian of the Year ceremony.

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He said this time he was showing some artists visiting from Turkey around Melbourne and teaching them about the local Indigenous history.

Jack Charles was refused a taxi twice in one week in October 2015. Photo: ABC

Jack Charles was refused a taxi twice in one week in October 2015. Photo: ABC

The group went to get into a taxi in a dedicated rank near Flinders Street station, but when Mr Charles began to discuss where they were going, the taxi driver told them he had “knocked off” and tried to drive away.

He said the next driver also told them they had finished work.

“It’s very embarrassing to be refused. Because everyone is waiting behind me and they can see the incident,” Mr Charles said.

“I feel very much downtrodden. It’s happened again. Immediately my hackles rose.”

He said it was a clear “act of racism”.

The Victorian Taxi Association said the incident was concerning and unacceptable but said it had not received a formal complaint from Mr Charles.

It said Mr Charles needed to contact the regulator or the taxi company involved to take the matter further.

More education needed for drivers, Uncle Jack says

Mr Charles said his friend were “astounded” by the incident and did not know what to say.

“Three quarters of them, more than three quarters, are decent people. They do stop and pick us up on the street or at a taxi rank,” he said.

“But there’s the odd one who come through. I’m feeling paranoid, wondering if this cab driver will except me.”

Mr Charles said he wanted to hold a meeting with police, taxi drivers and owners to create an Indigenous education program for drivers to better inform them about his people’s history.

“I have this inherent obligation as an elder and leader to waggle the finger, and point the bone, at this behaviour and bring it out of the darkness and into the light,” he said.

“It’s about time this mob is educated.

“All I’m asking for is justice and truth and honour.”


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