Australian of the Year Adam Goodes has drawn more flak for declaring in an interview that Australia was built on “lies”.
Speaking to the BBC, the Sydney Swans champion called for better education about Australia’s history, which he said was littered with the oppression of indigenous people and other ethnic groups.
“The history of our country is built on so much lies and racial policies, and things that have suppressed my people and lots of minorities in this country, so you can’t blame people for having the views that they have,” he said.
He also said children needed to be taught that Australia wasn’t founded by Captain James Cook.
“I can use my position to help educate people to see through the things that they’ve been taught growing up,” he said.
“Open their minds (and realise) ‘That’s not true: Captain Cook didn’t found Australia’, as I was taught in high school.”
Talkback radio host Neil Mitchell criticised Goodes for trying to “change the country”.
“The sooner Adam Goodes finishes as Australian of the Year the better, as far as I’m concerned,” he said.
“At times Adam Goodes seems not to like Australia.”
One Twitter user called Goodes “by far the worst (Australian of the Year) we’ve ever had” while another called him “wanker of the year”.
Adam Goodes never should have been chosen as Australian of the Year.
Kathy Goodison (@matoots57) November 12, 2014
@3AWNeilMitchell How dare Adam Goodes use AOTY to bring attention to the plight of Indigenous Australians & make white folk uncomfortable! Mike Jones (@mikeyjj) November 12, 2014
But there was also support for the Sydney Swans star, with Twitter users saying: “Neil Mitchells pathetic response to Adam Goodes just proves Adam is correct in what he is saying”, and “I support @adamroy37 as Australian of The Year.Disappointing that @3AWNeilMitchell made such inflammatory & inaccurate comments this morning”.
Goodes stepped up his work as an anti-racism campaigner last year after being subjected to abuse by a 13-year-old girl during a Sydney Swans game, and later became the subject of a joke made by Collingwood president Eddie McGuire in relation to King Kong the musical.
– with AAP