SourceA Perth filmmaker whose music video Flubba Wubba Jubba Noongar was slammed by Aboriginal leaders for being racist was acquitted in Perth Magistrate's Court yesterday.
Simon Charles Barker pleaded not guilty to a charge of aggravated conduct likely to cause racial harassment.
Aboriginal Legal Service WA chief executive Dennis Eggington said Mr Barker's acquittal was a clear example of why Australia needed a Bill of rights.
Mr Barker claimed during his trial last week that he had made the video in a bid to lampoon the stereotypical attitudes of white West Australians towards Aboriginals.
Delivering his verdict, Magistrate Kevin Tavener said that while he accepted the video would have offended someone who watched it for the first time he believed it was made in good faith. He said he had taken the view that the prosecution had needed to negate Mr Barker's defence of why he made the film and he accepted it was an artistic work.
The rap music video played to the court last week showed two men wearing afro wigs, with blackened faces, drinking, being chased by police and selling stolen goods to a pawn shop. The court was told that the video was removed by YouTube because it was deemed inappropriate.
"I do not see any artistic merit at all in ridiculing a racial group who have suffered so much," Mr Eggington said. "To hide behind artistic merit is shameful. It's a disgrace."
Aboriginal leader Craig Somerville, who attended the trial, said that while he accepted the magistrate's findings, he found the video offensive.
"I would invite him (Mr Barker) to perform that live before Aboriginal people and see the reaction that he got," Mr Somerville said.
Shadow minister for indigenous affairs Roger Cook said: "By any measure the video is offensive and inappropriate. It attempts to parody Aboriginal disadvantage and in doing so provides the viewer with a generalised and ignorant depiction of indigenous people. It is racist, if not in intent, then certainly in effect."
Mr Barker was granted legal costs of $8239.18. After the verdict Mr Barker would only say he was relieved.
The acquittal came a day after a rally in the city which called for an independent review of the Director of Public Prosecution's decision not to prosecute over the death of Aboriginal elder Mr Ward in a prison van and a public inquiry into alleged institutionalised racism in the criminal justice system.
Premier Colin Barnett yesterday dismissed calls to meet Mr Ward's family, saying it was appropriate for Attorney-General Christian Porter to deal directly with his widow and her legal representatives.
While we are at it. If you have the time we recommend that you read "The Fabrication of Aboriginal History" by Keith Windschuttle.
Volume One, Van Diemen's Land, 1803-1847
This is the first volume in a series that re-appraises the now widely accepted story about conflict between colonists and Aborigines in Australian history. Beginning in Tasmania, and eventually covering the whole of the Australian mainland, the volumes find that the academic historians of the last thirty years have greatly exaggerated the degree of violence that occurred.
In a close re-examination of the primary sources used by historians, Keith Windschuttle concludes that much of their case is poorly founded, other parts are seriously mistaken, and some of it is outright fabrication.
The author finds the British colonization of the Australia was the least violent of all Europe's encounters with the New World. It did not meet any organized resistance. Conflict was sporadic rather than systematic. The notion of ‘frontier warfare' is fictional. To describe the process as ‘genocide' is to use hyperbole that is unsupported by the historical evidence.
" ... his book will ultimately be recognized as one of the most important and devastating written on Australian history in recent decades." Geoffrey Blainey, The New Criterion, New York, April 2003
" ... labourers in this vineyard must henceforth meet standards of honesty and accuracy quite unfamiliar to the credulous, the sentimental and the political activists who have ruled too long. Truth, it seems, may yet win out in the marketplace of ideas." Neil McInnes, The National Interest, Washington, Summer 2004.