Indigenous musician claims she was ‘refused taxis’ at airport

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An indigenous musician reports that she was left “in tears and anger” after a taxi driver refused to give her a ride because of the color of her skin.

Award-winning Gumbaynggirr and Yamatji artist Emma Donovan had just flown into Perth on Friday night following the release of her new record in Melbourne.

However, the 43-year-old claims that she was refused service by two taxi drivers despite being at the front of the taxi queue at the airport; one of the drivers is said to have even made a racist remark.

“Please can someone help me,” she wrote.

“I arrived at Perth Airport this evening after seeing a fantastic CD launch in Melbourne last night, to find that two drivers had let me in.

“Someone makes the comment that he doesn’t like ‘my style.’ I am furious as I write this, in tears and anger.

“I’m going to report these guys somehow. The whole taxi queue was arguing about who would give me a ride, but no one wanted to.”

Ms Donovan added that someone eventually offered to give her a ride in their car, an experience she described as “racism at its finest”.

“A friendly Fulla (sic) offered me a lift in his car and took me to Vic Park,” she said.

“I know it wasn’t because the fare was too low, I know it was racism in its purest form.

“If anyone has any information on how to properly report these two cars, please help. Sorry for the rant, I just felt so hopeless and wild.”

It is not clear which taxi company the drivers worked for.

A Perth Airport spokesman told The West Australian they had not been informed of the incident but urged Ms Donovan to report it.

“There is no place for racism in our society,” the spokesman said.

“The taxi industry is regulated by the state government. We urge Ms Donovan to file a report with the Department of Transport and we would be happy to assist her in filing the complaint.

“Perth Airport will review any CCTV footage of the incident and make it available to the Authority to assist in the investigation of the allegations.

“Perth Airport will also remind all taxi operators that we expect all passengers to be treated with courtesy and dignity.”

A spokesman for the Western Australian Department of Transport also told the newspaper that drivers who refuse passengers without an acceptable reason could face a fine of up to $3,000.

Ms Donovan is a soul-funk singer who is currently touring Australia to promote her brand new album. Until my song is finished.

The ARIA-nominated artist first appeared on stage as a child with her famous family band, The Donovans.

Since then she has toured and recorded with some of the industry’s biggest names, including Paul Kelly, The Teskey Brothers, Spinifex Gum and the late Uncle Archie Roach and Aunt Ruby Hunter.

Read related topics:Perth

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