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Vicki Ruhr appalled by Australia Day statement

Kinglake resident Vicki Ruhr who survived the Black Saturday bushfires has called on a controversial Invasion Day speaker to publicly apologise for her “hateful” comments.

Ruhr said the comments made by Tarneen Onus-Williams on Australia Day created “an unwanted degree of upset and stress” for herself and her local [Kinglake Ranges] community.

“F*** Australia, hope it f***ing burns to the ground,” Ms Onus-Williams said on Friday.

“All you fellas in your Australian flags should be ashamed of yourselves.”

“It’s been an emotional day and it was a strong statement, but I am not going to apologise for it,” Ms Onus-Williams who identifies as a Yigar Gunditjmara and Bindal woman told The Age reporters.


Ruhr, too upset to speak on air, sent 3AW Mornings presenter Neil Mitchell the following statement:

“On behalf of all those impacted by the 2009 Victorian Black Saturday Bushfires Disaster, both survivors and the souls with no voices that are no longer with us, I hereby & formally call upon Ms Tarneen Onus-Williams, who introduced speakers during the rally at the steps of Victorian Parliament on Friday, 26 January 2018, to publicly apologize for her highly insensitive and reprehensible comments – forthwith.”

Mitchell told listeners it was time the Koorie Youth Council distanced itself from Ms Onus-Williams.

“It was all aggression. Just did you just call me a racist? On what grounds? Mitchell asked.

“There’s an argument that the Koorie Youth Council should get more funding not less,” he said.

“But the council needs to dump urgently, one of its board members, Tarneen Onus-Williams.

“She is interested in abuse, division and aggression, not reconciliation.

“It’s not what Australians, black or white, need,” Mitchell said.

Organisers of the ‘Invasion Day’ rally at (Victorian) Parliament House have been contacted for comment.


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