The Project Host Tony Armstrong Says Australia Still Can't Accept That It's 'Racist'
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Tony Armstrong has opened up about Indigenous incarceration rates in Australia during a damning segment on The Project.
The TV host was speaking ahead of the release of a documentary titled Incarceration Nation, which digs into the heart of why so many First Nations people are being locked up.
After showing the audience snippets of the documentary, Tony said it's a brutal reminder that Australia still has a lot of work to do on Indigenous issues.
"That's hard to watch. My heart is going a million miles an hour," he said. "There's so many points to pick up on. We talk about incarceration rates, you're not seeing white kids getting jailed for stealing a bottle of water.
"You're trying to find a way to rehabilitate them, you're asking what are the reasons why they ended up stealing that bottle of water? You're not just throwing the long arm of the law at them.
"You saw the footage of the young fella, bound up like Guantanamo Bay. That's not on. But that happens in our country. And we talk about a sense of truth telling, we talk about, you know, needing to accept where we've come from to be able to move forward.
"This country still can't accept it's a racist country.
"You still can't accept it's built off the back of slavery, it's built off the back of dispossession, it's built off the back of rape and pillage of Indigenous people.
"It's just - it's really hard to watch and really hard to reconcile with. And we've just got to be better."
Producers for the documentary interviewed Police Inspector Jeff Regan, who explained how he was forced to use a different fridge to his colleagues.
Before he could whack a meal inside the fridge, one officer allegedly told him he'd have to bring his own because he cooked 'differently' to them.
Inspector Regan told the documentary: "He said, 'You cook differently. You're not putting your food in there. Go and get another fridge and clean it out and you can put your food in there.' They make you feel subhuman."
The documentary also details how an Indigenous child was locked up for 90 days for stealing coins out of a car.
Incarceration Nation highlights how First Nations men make up 29 per cent of the prison population in Australia, despite being just 3.3 per cent of the country's total population.
Indigenous women account for more than a third of the prison population and children are increasingly being put in child protection as a result.
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