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Indigenous Women "Treated Like Animals" At WA Pub

Three women have lodged a complaint after being breathalysed at a local pub.

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Three Aboriginal women have filed a complaint with the Equal Opportunity Commission in Perth alleging that they were racially discriminated against at a hotel in Western Australia's Kimberley region.

"We just thought that we would come in [to the Kimberley Hotel] and have some afternoon beers. We were sober but he [the security guard] told us to leave," Jane Bieundurry (pictured above), 48, tells BuzzFeed News. Bieundurry and two other women had just spent time with her sick brother-in-law at the nearby hospital when they decided to head to the local Kimberley Hotel in Halls Creek for a cold beer and some respite from the heat. At around 2pm, the women say they entered the Kimberley Hotel's sports lounge where Bieundurry claims the security guard came up to them and asked each of them to blow into a breathalyser."We went inside and sat down and a man came over and told us to blow in the breathalyser and then he said we were too drunk, but we were sober. He didn’t show us that number [the blood alcohol reading], he just told us to leave". "We were treated like animals and discriminated against like we were some drunks, it didn’t feel right". Bieundurry has since lodged, with the other two women, a formal complaint about their treatment with the Western Australian Equal Opportunity Commission claiming they were racially discriminated against. Bieundurry says that racial vilification is rife in Kimberley and hopes that by taking a stand others will speak up. "We need more people to start talking up because we can’t be treated like this. It's been happening too long in the Kimberley in pubs, in shops and in the streets, it looks like apartheid, this place," she says.
Jane Bieundurry with actor Jack Thompson (Supplied)

"We just thought that we would come in [to the Kimberley Hotel] and have some afternoon beers. We were sober but he [the security guard] told us to leave," Jane Bieundurry (pictured above), 48, tells BuzzFeed News.

Bieundurry and two other women had just spent time with her sick brother-in-law at the nearby hospital when they decided to head to the local Kimberley Hotel in Halls Creek for a cold beer and some respite from the heat.

At around 2pm, the women say they entered the Kimberley Hotel's sports lounge where Bieundurry claims the security guard came up to them and asked each of them to blow into a breathalyser.

"We went inside and sat down and a man came over and told us to blow in the breathalyser and then he said we were too drunk, but we were sober. He didn’t show us that number [the blood alcohol reading], he just told us to leave".

"We were treated like animals and discriminated against like we were some drunks, it didn’t feel right".

Bieundurry has since lodged, with the other two women, a formal complaint about their treatment with the Western Australian Equal Opportunity Commission claiming they were racially discriminated against.

Bieundurry says that racial vilification is rife in Kimberley and hopes that by taking a stand others will speak up.

"We need more people to start talking up because we can’t be treated like this. It's been happening too long in the Kimberley in pubs, in shops and in the streets, it looks like apartheid, this place," she says.

Kerry Thomas was having lunch at the hotel with her cousin and watched as Bieundurry and the women were breathalysed and ejected. She says the ladies were clearly targetted.

"They walked in quietly.They weren't aggressive and they weren't loud and they sat down and he [the security guard] made a bee-line for them and started to breathalyse them". Thomas watched three non-Indigenous people come into the hotel just prior to the Aboriginal women and says they were not breathalysed.The population of Halls Creek is predominately made up of Indigenous people from several different tribes in the vast Kimberley region. Thomas says discrimination by business owners in the area is common and must be stamped out. "I've known non-drinkers who have gone to the bar to order a juice or cool drink and they were told to leave, the bouncer said you’ve had enough to drink. This person was shoved out even though they didn’t drink. It happens all the time". "In Halls Creek the majority of people are Indigenous people and the message is you don’t have to put up with this behaviour. These people are only employed because you go down there and you put the bread and butter on their table, you can’t except racism you have to do something about it," Thomas says.
Kerry Thomas (Supplied)

"They walked in quietly.They weren't aggressive and they weren't loud and they sat down and he [the security guard] made a bee-line for them and started to breathalyse them".

Thomas watched three non-Indigenous people come into the hotel just prior to the Aboriginal women and says they were not breathalysed.

The population of Halls Creek is predominately made up of Indigenous people from several different tribes in the vast Kimberley region. Thomas says discrimination by business owners in the area is common and must be stamped out.

"I've known non-drinkers who have gone to the bar to order a juice or cool drink and they were told to leave, the bouncer said you’ve had enough to drink. This person was shoved out even though they didn’t drink. It happens all the time".

"In Halls Creek the majority of people are Indigenous people and the message is you don’t have to put up with this behaviour. These people are only employed because you go down there and you put the bread and butter on their table, you can’t except racism you have to do something about it," Thomas says.

Bieundurry is an Indigenous mentor with Wesley College in Melbourne and says the incident has deeply embarrassed her and left her feeling unwelcome in her own town.

"I work in Melbourne and I’m not treated like that down there. I am treated equally and I walk into a bank or a shop and I get treated like a normal person down there. So why is this happening here in the Kimberleys?"For Bieundurry the complaint is about much more than being denied entry to a hotel. For her it's about equal rights. "We just want to be treated like everyone else in Australia. Australia is a multicultural country, so why do the first nations people of this country have to be treated differently?" BuzzFeed News has contacted the Kimberley Hotel and is awaiting a response.
Sportsmans bar lounge at the Kimberley Hotel (Kimberley Hotel website)

"I work in Melbourne and I’m not treated like that down there. I am treated equally and I walk into a bank or a shop and I get treated like a normal person down there. So why is this happening here in the Kimberleys?"

For Bieundurry the complaint is about much more than being denied entry to a hotel. For her it's about equal rights.

"We just want to be treated like everyone else in Australia. Australia is a multicultural country, so why do the first nations people of this country have to be treated differently?"

BuzzFeed News has contacted the Kimberley Hotel and is awaiting a response.

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Formerly with BuzzFeed News, Allan Clarke is a NITV reporter based in Sydney.

Contact Allan Clarke at arielle.benedek+AC@buzzfeed.com.

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