I was once told by a student that online petitions get “nowhere in Australia”.
I disagreed then, and I disagree now.
Several months ago Australian TV presenter Samantha Armytage made a horrific racist comment, that clearly left her co-host taken aback. Armytage and her co-host were interviewing a pair of non-identical twins; one dark-skinned and the other light-skinned. One child had taken on the racial attributes of the father, and the other had taken on the attributes of the mother. Armytage responded “good on her” to the light-skinned twin.
An online petition from Change.org appeared demanding an apology, which Armytage subsequently gave. So petitions go nowhere? Clearly not. Whilst I personally believe Armytage should have been sacked, I take some solace in the fact that this petition- which gained more than 3,000 signatories- helped procure an apology.
Publicists tried to pass off the comment: ‘Sam has always admitted that her own fair complexion was a disadvantage in the Australian environment. We apologise if anyone misunderstood or if they were offended.’ I smell bullshit.
Even so, let us not forget the power of a petition, even in this day and age. Next time however, I hope that petition procures a more acceptable outcome.
Sources: Sunrise; Daily Mail; news.com.au; smh.com.au.