A RSL club has faced an extraordinary attack from ACT Labor MLA Bec Cody over tiles on the walls of its men’s toilet which depict Indigenous men — criticism the club says is “ridiculous” and “out of order”.
At the end of today’s sitting in the ACT Legislative Assembly, new member for Murrumbidgee Bec Cody used her speech, under parliamentary privilege, to blast the Sussex Inlet RSL near Jervis Bay on the South Coast.
She said her husband had told her about four tiles installed either side of the urinal in the men’s bathroom, depicting Aboriginal men near rocks and with boomerangs.
Ms Cody took offence to the tiles and described the leaders of the RSL as either “racist” or “standing by racists”.
“In 2017, in Australia, in a club that promotes itself as championing our values and respect for our national heritage, men are expected to urinate on Aboriginals,” she said.
“The Sussex Inlet RSL is a disgrace. They are a disgrace to themselves, a disgrace to the veterans they claim to represent and a disgrace to Australia.
“Does the Sussex Inlet RSL think it appropriate that patrons embrace Aboriginal culture in the toilet block?”
Ms Cody urged the national and local bodies of the RSL to “address this filth as a matter of urgency”.
Max Greedy from the Sussex Inlet RSL club said the tiles had been in place since the 1960s.
He said the tiles, which are not in the urinals, are about 15 centimetres by 15 centimetres in size and labelled Ms Cody’s complaint as “ridiculous”.
“I think it’s an insult to our club,” he said.
“We have thousands of people come through here a year … I reckon she’s out of order.
“It’s an old toilet in the old part of the building. Everyone I’ve spoken to, they can’t believe it.”
He said, given her comments, Ms Cody should not be a politician.