A call by National Indigenous Council member Warren Mundine for Aboriginal men to apologise for crimes against women and children has angered a former city rugby league identity.
Clarrie Cook, a league identity in Dubbo during the 1960s and 70s, said Mr Mundine’s statements unfairly labelled all Aboriginal men as wife bashers.
Mr Cook acknowledged that domestic violence was a major problem but insisted it wasn’t just an Aboriginal issue.
“It affects all nationalities and cultures and I think it is very unfair of Warren Mundine to say Aboriginal men should stand up, admit they had done wrong and apologise,” he said.
“He says it is the only way we can go forward. It’s like he’s saying we should all stand up and say we are wife bashers, before any good will come to Aboriginal people.”
Mr Cook said he had been convicted of assault many years ago.
“I pleaded guilty so it wouldn’t go in the papers and cause problems for my daughter who had just started school,” he said. “I know how cruel kids at school can be and I didn’t want my daughter getting teased and not wanting to go to school. I put her education before my reputation and it cost me a lot personally.”
Mr Cook said he had tried to forget the past and get on with his life but it was all brought back when he read the remarks of Dubbo’s former deputy mayor.
“Warren should have been more specific with his comments,” Mr Cook said. “He makes it look like all Aboriginal men are violent, and we’re not.”
Mr Mundine said he would be raising the issue of domestic violence as a matter of urgency when the NIC meets next month.
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