In what is turning out to be a PR disaster, QANTAS is doing their best to cover their tracks after a prominent Indigenous artist called them out for suggesting that she should work for free during NAIDOC week.
After the request, Elizabeth Close took to facebook to express her frustration and it didn’t take long for her story to spread like wildfire after it was shared hundreds of times on Facebook. In her post, Elizabeth described how she was asked to paint Aboriginal totem animals on bowls and plates that are used to service the business class section. QANTAS also requested that she write a corresponding Indigenous name below the totems of which Elizabeth described as homogenising Aboriginal languages.
This is not the first time QANTAS has been involved with incidents surrounding Indigenous people. In 2010 eight Indigenous men were removed from a QANTAS flight during reconciliation week and locked inside a bus. The men later sued QANTAS over their actions. QANTAS also received more negative criticism after they would not allow prominent Indigenous actor Alex Doomadgee to carry ceremonial boomerangs on one of their flights.
We hope that QANTAS can turn things around in regards to Indigenous relationships. Perhaps they can join us for the push towards creating ‘welcome to country’ areas at all regional and International airports throughout Australia.