An Aboriginal family who allege they were refused entry to two Sydney hotels because of their race have taken their case to the Human Rights Commission.
The National Justice Party revealed it has filed a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission on behalf of Raymond Davison and his family who were denied entry to two Sydney hotels in February.
According to the not-for-profit legal service, Davison says the Bidwill Hotel and the Carousel Inn denied his family entry “because, or at least partly because, they were a group of Aboriginal people”.
In multiple media reports, Davison is quoted as saying his family arrived at the Bidwill Hotel after attending a wake.
“We just wanted to get lunch at the hotel like anyone else, so to be turned away because of who we are was deeply hurtful and humiliating,” he said in a statement on Thursday.
“We shouldn’t have to put up with that sort of treatment, it just goes to show that racism is alive and well in our country and that is why we are making a stand.”
Davison claimed that riot police arrived when his family questioned the hotel’s decision and described the incident as “incredibly intimidating”.
The complaint also alleged NSW Police overreacted to the situation, as reported by the AAP.
National Justice Project chief executive George Newhouse told the AAP race-based discrimination was unacceptable in society.
The complaint seeks compensation, a public apology and the establishment of a reconciliation action plan at the hotel, according to the AAP, citing the not-for-profit legal service.
Video footage of the alleged incident was posted to Facebook by Nathan Dean Merritt, who was allegedly among the group trying to enter the Bidwill Hotel.
“It’s very SAD that we still have to put up with RACISM in this country … No one was intoxicated just family trying to get together mourning the death of our lost one,” he posted on 22 February.
Both Bidwill Hotel and the Carousel Inn were both unable to comment on the matter at this stage when contacted by Travel Weekly.
Bidwill Hotel licensee Marty Secheny, however, told the AAP on Thursday “there are two very different sides to this story”.
“There have been indigenous people and people of all races coming to this hotel for many, many years,” he said.
NSW Police responded to calls that “up to 100 people” were refused entry at Bidwill Hotel; however, upon arrival there was a crowd of about “30 to 50 people” who were dispersed without incident.
A Human Rights Commission spokesperson told the AAP it could not comment on the matter.
The investigation is ongoing.
Featured image (Facebook): Nathan Dean Merritt