Indigenous musician claims she was ‘refused taxis’ at airport

An Indigenous musician says she was left in “tears and anger” after she claimed a taxi driver refused her a ride because of the color of her skin.

Award-winning Gumbaynggirr and Yamatji artist Emma Donovan has just flown into Perth on Friday night after launching her new record in Melbourne.

However, the 43-year-old claims she was refused service by two taxi drivers despite being at the head of an airport taxi queue, with one driver even allegedly making a racist comment.

“Please someone help me,” she wrote.

“I arrived at Perth airport tonight after an amazing CD launch in Melbourne last night, only to be turned away by two drivers in the front row.

“One commented that he didn’t like ‘my kind’. I am absolutely furious as I write this in tears and anger.

“I’m going to report these guys somehow. The whole taxi line was fighting over who would take me, nobody wanted to.”

Ms Donovan added that eventually someone offered her a ride in her car. She felt the experience was “racism in the best sense”.

“A kind fulla (sic) offered me a ride in his car and took me to Vic Park,” she said.

“I know it wasn’t because of a short ride, I know it was racism at its finest.

“If anyone has information on how to properly register these two cars, please help. Sorry for ranting, I felt so hopeless and wild.”

It is not clear which taxi company the two drivers worked for.

A spokesman for Perth Airport told The West Australian they had not been notified of the incident but encouraged Ms Donovan to report it.

“There is no place for racism in our society,” the spokesman said.

“The taxi industry is regulated by the state government. We urge Ms. Donovan to file a report with the Department of Transportation and we will be happy to assist her in filing a complaint.

“Perth Airport will determine if there is any CCTV footage of the incident and will pass it on to the Department to assist with any possible investigation into the allegations.

“Perth Airport will also remind all taxi companies of our expectation that all passengers will be treated with courtesy and dignity.”

A spokesman for the Western Australian Department of Transport also said drivers who refuse passengers without an acceptable reason face fines of up to $3000.

Ms. Donovan is a soul-funk singer who is currently touring Australia promoting her brand new album. Until my song is finished.

The ARIA-nominated artist first appeared on stage as a child with her famous family band, The Donovans.

Since then she has toured and recorded with industry big names such as Paul Kelly, The Teskey Brothers, Spinifex Gum and the late Uncle Archie Roach and late Aunt Ruby Hunter.

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