Shame file: Haven Backpackers Resort Hostel, Alice Springs

langdon-lifesaver
Image Credit: SMH

Hostel facing lawsuit after telling Aboriginal women to leave

The 16 women and children had travelled 300 kilometres from Yuendumu to Alice Springs to train as lifeguards for their community’s new swimming pool.

They checked into the Haven Backpackers resort, but a short time later the manager told them that guests already staying there had complained of being scared.

The group included several young mothers and a three-month-old baby. Most were young leaders, chosen specially for their standing in the Yuendumu community.

The resort manager told Bethany Langdon from the Yuendumu Young Leaders program the group would have to leave.

“The manager came out and told me that we weren’t suitable to stay there,” she told ABC1’s Lateline program.

“They said, because you’re Aboriginal, other tourists were making complaints that they were scared of us.

“I felt like I wanted to cry, because it made me feel like I wasn’t an Australian.”

The hostel’s excuse? They cater primarily for international tourists, which the Yuendumu women were not, therefore they were inappropriate guests. Somehow I very much doubt that if my white family turned up there we’d be turned away because we were Australian rather than foreign tourists.

Now this paragraph is mostly for the search engines (H.A.T. has a high authority ranking, so I’m using it): ethical tourists please avoid the Haven Backpacker Resort on Larapinta Drive, Alice Springs: it is a racist establishment, please don’t support it by staying there.

Reader: if you have a blog, why not post something similar to the above on your site? If enough other bloggers link to the ABC story, it will stay high in the search engine rankings even after the news cycle moves on, which is the least that the Haven Hostel deserves. I also hope that the Yuendumu women sue them hard.

I’m also really happy, in retrospect, that it took me absolutely ages to find their corporate website even though they have taken out spots in all the hostel directories: someone doesn’t know how to do SEO. I’m not posting a link to it, because that will make it easier for other people to find. If you find their corporate website, please don’t link to it either.

Update: according to the SMH the Haven Backpacker Resort is owned by one of the largest NT touring companies, Adventure Tours Australia, which purports to offer tourists “the unique scenery, wildlife and Aboriginal culture of each area”. They apparently can’t be bothered to train their employees to treat Aboriginal people who aren’t performing for tourists decently, though.

Congratulations, Adventure Tours Australia: you too are now added to the keywords.

Further Update (20/03/08) for the benefit of some people in the comments who are treating this as some unfounded claim by the Yuendumu party, and furthermore want to justify pre-judging this group based on stereotypes of aboriginal behaviour, here are the facts that even Haven Backpackers Resort does not dispute:

The Royal Lifesaving Society booked the accommodation and transport for the Yuendumu trainee party, and made sure that they got to the Haven Resort. Less than an hour later they had to come and get the trainee party and find them alternate accommodation. Not even Haven claims that the trainee party actually did or said anything offensive in that half hour or so.

Pre-judging people based on stereotypes is the essence of bigotry. If you want to try and justify pre-judging all aboriginal Australians based on the known bad behaviour of some aboriginal Australians, presenting some risk analysis rationale, go right ahead – but don’t pretend that your rationalisations are not attempting to justify bigoted racism.



Categories: ethics & philosophy, indigenous, social justice

Tags: , ,

94 replies

  1. Totally disgusting on the part of the Hostel.
    I hope you are sued and closed down.
    You have no idea what acts of discrimination like this can to do to the people they are targetted.In this case women and children who are the indigineous people of the country. SHAME
    I looked up the hostel on the internet I did not see international backpackers hostel as claimed by management I saw it advertised as backpackers hostel ??
    You need to stand in front of these people and publicly appologise for your small minded behavior. Had you taken the time to talk to the people you may have learned more about their culture and built a bridge.
    M Walker

  2. Good on you. Funny that the Alice Haven website says nothing about being exclusively for “international tourists”. That was a real furphy.
    The kindest interpretation I can give is that the manager is inexperienced and got flustered when she had to make a decision in response to a complaint. Bad move, but perhaps someone should give those Japanese tourists a little lesson on who “Australians” are. Why go to the Alice if you are scared of the local people?

  3. Well done on shaming the Haven Backpacker Resort on Larapinta Drive, Alice Springs.
    Shocking story….

  4. Why is it the bully’s of the world always get their way?
    And the innocent ones are the sufferers.
    Well shame on you ….the INTERNATIONAL Tourist what was there to be afraid of? Stay home if you don’t wish to be educated.
    As far as the HAVEN BACKPACKER RESORT – get a copy of the SORRY speech because you will need it.
    Bethany, you are better than all of them put together. Walk with your head held high young lady.

  5. Whilst i understand that there is a problem with the behaviour of some Aboriginals in Alice Springs (drinking, petrol sniffing, violence etc.), this does not justify the over-the-top and racist response by the hostel to *every* Aboriginal that comes to their door
    Shame on you Haven Backpacker Resort

  6. Dissappointing regretful small minded… are you kiddin me….how about flagrantly racist.
    The managers going to hell in a handbag and the actual owners will be lawyering up before you can say rabbit proof fence.
    If they were smart and very very lucky they might escape the suit with an apology but there s probably more chance that Harold Holt is running a fish and chip shop in Tassie.
    Bethany Langdon is the epitome of the kind of young Aboriginal leadership these isolated communities are desperate for.
    She is smart,strong and committed to giving back to her
    community which apparently makes her over qualified for other roles in the Alice like say….Hostel Manager
    ps …bad things are done when good people do nothing
    speak out…even if you disagree

  7. why dont you find out all the facts before accusing the hostel of any wrong doing.
    one reported said “it is discusting that in this day an age these things are happening. Well it is discusting in this day and age that you are only listening to one side.
    SHAME ON ALL OF YOU WHO BELIEVE EVERYTHING THE ABORIGINIES ARE SAYING
    wake up!

  8. The Yuendumu women are totally backed up by the Royal Lifesaving Society, who had arranged for them to come to Alice for training and who organised the accommodation for them in the first place, Sarah Jones.

    They checked in, went and put their bags in their rooms, and then were told to leave. There was no time for them to have done anything objectionable.

    Are you accusing Rob Bradley, CEO of the Royal Lifesaving Society, who was with the group, of being a liar as well?

  9. I also wonder if there really was a complaint by any international tourist. They too would hardly have had time to even see the Yuendumu group before they were asked to leave.

  10. This is just disgusting. People have this idea in there head that all aboriginals are chroming, alcoholic bums but thats really only a minority of the aboriginal people and the media is also to blame for this stereotype as well as the government.
    As for the tourists who complained because they were scared, I would like to put them in the same position and see how they like it. I believe that when you are in a country which is not your own you should respect the citizens of that country and treat them as you would like to be treated. As far as I’m concerned anyone found disrespecting a citizen of the country that they are visiting should get a huge fine and be sent back to their own country. As harsh as that may seem.
    This story has really influenced me and I am hoping to write a novel about these issues.

  11. No wonder the staff at HAVEN BACKPACKERS RESORT, ALICE SPRINGS scored only 80% by their guests!
    Sorry, Women folks. Next time come with your spears, ah, then there’s a real cause for fright and flight.
    Utter SILLINESS!

  12. and with the most friendly welcome possible

    Ah! the irony in this line from their website.

  13. Ah, the irony grows: according to the SMH the Haven Backpacker Resort is owned by one of the largest NT touring companies, Adventure Tours Australia, which purports to offer tourists “the unique scenery, wildlife and Aboriginal culture of each area”.
    I think I’ll just go add that snippet to the original post.

  14. No surprise – they live off the history surrounding the aboriginal people yet give preference to the wishes of a group of visitors (if that is the real story)
    Backpackers = welcome to Australia but please give this joint a miss.

  15. yet give preference to the wishes of a group of visitors (if that is the real story)

    The Royal Lifesaving Society don’t believe that any other guest at the resort made any complaint (emphasis added):

    ”It was a very feeble excuse about a complaint having been made but, looking into that, there was no complaint, there was no reason, it was just pure racism,” the society’s chief executive, Rob Bradley told ABC Television last night.
    source: SMH

  16. I also blogged about this today as I was absolutely enraged! I lived in Yuendumu and funnily enough on Sunday I talked about the community on my blog as it was our wedding anniversary and that’s where I was married. I really do hope legal action is taken.
    SallyO’s last blog post..Yuendumu

  17. This is disgusting, help take haven out of business, contact travel agents and let them know about Haven’s discrimination. Simply alert them to all these stories published about this hostel on google News:
    http://news.google.com.au/news?ncl=1141219493
    Contact travel agents, hostel booking sites, anyone who might give business to these people.

  18. according to the SMH the Haven Backpacker Resort is owned by one of the largest NT touring companies, Adventure Tours Australia, which purports to offer tourists “the unique scenery, wildlife and Aboriginal culture of each area”.

    I guess they’re stuck in that part of the twentieth century when Aboriginal people were considered wildlife.
    sarah jones:

    why dont you find out all the facts before accusing the hostel of any wrong doing.
    one reported said “it is discusting that in this day an age these things are happening. Well it is discusting in this day and age that you are only listening to one side.

    So what’s the “other side”, sarah? Do you have some facts on this incident that you’re not sharing?

    SHAME ON ALL OF YOU WHO BELIEVE EVERYTHING THE ABORIGINIES ARE SAYING</blockquote
    “ABORIGINIES”? Srsly?

  19. This event has embarrassed ALL Australia.
    Tourists come to this country to discover the deeper wisdom of Aboriginal culture, while ignorantly trampling over their sensitive sacred sites.
    Sadly then it’s no big surprise that a tourist operator who makes a fortune from exploiting these treasures, should be so quick to demonize the very people they’re robbing.
    I hope the gutless B goes bankrupt and ends up on the streets …

  20. As non-Indigenous Australians we are continually disgusted at the way Indigenous people are treated in this racist country & Haven Backpacker Resort, Alice Springs, is the final straw. The proprietors should be packing their bags as this is written – if they did honestly receive a complaint/request as to the right of Indigenous people accommodated in their own country they should have asked those making the complaint to move on if they cannot accept peoples’ skin colour.
    If anyone is travelling in the direction of Alice Springs maybe a blockade should be organised complete with placards and banners advising those people intending to stay there of just how racist management of that place is.
    So much for the apology recently made by the PM K. Rudd to the Stolen Generation! The policies and practices in this country MUST change before it is too late. Australia has been known internationally for quite some time as being a red-neck country and even more prospective visitors, including many of our own friends & family in European countries such as Italy & Germany, will be even more reluctant to come and visit a country who was invaded and has not treatied with Indigenous people over 200 years after that invasion.

  21. Did anyone notice the lack of coverage this story got today outside the ABC?
    Imagine what would have happened if it was a group of white Australians asked to leave a hostel because tourists were afraid of them.
    Interestingly travel writer Bill Bryson in his book Down Under spoke of his unease of the way the whites in and around Alice Springs talked about the Aborigines. You have to wonder if tourists were afraid of Aborigines where they got that fear from?
    Clubwah’s last blog post..Beware men in turbans telling fortunes

  22. None of their advertising says that this is only for international guests, and even if it did this would still be racial discrimination.

    If you want to complain about this personally to the hostel, then their email address is:
    manager@alicehaven.com.au
    and their phone number is 0405 470 196

  23. Did anyone notice the lack of coverage this story got today outside the ABC?

    I haven’t watched the TV news, but I’m seeing articles in the SMH, news.com.au, and Age so far.

  24. Was it the establishment of this place that stuffed up? or some simple minded employee. Yeah yeah captain goes down with the ship,… etc… but who showed their true colours??? & made the comments. That’s the stuff the media don’t speak about and the victims can’t use as leverage. Is this an individuals attitude ? I have worked along side morons before, but I didnt support their views, and told them so. If everyone was intollerant to racism all the time then the racists would lose momentum. Have you ever stayed quiet when you saw something wrong? So sue you !

  25. OK OK! I have stayed quiet once too often !

  26. I currently live a very short walk from Haven, and was there on Tuesday (I had no business with them, I was just being picked up there by an unrelated (and as it happens, Aboriginal owned)) tour company).

    Race relations are very complex in Alice Springs. There is a very large and real cultural divide, as many Aboriginal inhabitants of the area retain their own language and quite distinct culture, But there is no excuse for overt racism, which is inexcusable and even more damaging in that environment.

  27. Well done, have forwarded your link to our world wide 420 community and have finished emailing the low lifes. And will keep forwarding your link to world wide travel agents.
    The power of email will be there down fall.

  28. I’m also doubting that there was a complaint from an international tourist. Having been a tourist in Australia, I and all the other travelers I met were happy to meet Aboriginal Australians, especially in situations that WEREN’T pre-planned “look at the exotic native culture” crap.

  29. I and all the other travelers I met were happy to meet Aboriginal Australians, especially in situations that WEREN’T pre-planned “look at the exotic native culture” crap

    Of course. Imagine what a positive experience it would have been for everyone involved to see dedicated youth leaders of a remote community training to gain skills to serve the community, and for them to have time to talk to a cross-section of international travellers in between training sessions.
    This reminds me, the Royal Lifesaving Society haven’t had any donations from me this year, and the end of the quarter is coming up. I’ll just go put them at the top of the list.

  30. C’mon boys and girls!
    Why not also register on the Thorn Tree (at http://www.lonelyplanet.com) and paste your comments there.
    That way lots more travellers are likely to read about this disgraceful episode – and steer clear of Haven Hostel!

  31. I am very disgusted in the way Haven Resort has treated those young women. Their money is the same as anyone elses in the world.

    Shame on you. Will definately be telling everyone not to stay there.

  32. the haven backpackers are in the wrong business
    I am from New zealand and it makes me ashamed to be called Australain..this was an example of blatant racism.

  33. dave: I note that the Haven Backpackers bills itself as “stylish” and “classy”. Is that code in the Alice?

  34. The kindest interpretation I can give is that the manager is inexperienced and got flustered when she had to make a decision in response to a complaint. Bad move,…
    When the story originally broke, I read that the manager was an English woman. Was that correct? I wonder what her visa / working visa status is? and where does she get off telling the original owners of the land to leave her hostel?
    Helen’s last blog post..Mugged by Mugler, Galled by Galliano

  35. There’s a new article up in the Age with a statement from a former receptionist:

    A former receptionist told The Age today that Ms Ball explicitly instructed her to never allow Aboriginal guests at Haven.
    “We were told that we don’t let Aboriginal people stay here,” said Sarah, 22, who worked at Haven from July until October last year.
    Sarah provided The Age with documents showing she was employed by Mr Zammit’s company last year, but did not want her full name printed.
    “Aboriginal people would come in and ask for a room and we’d have rooms available and Michelle would just say we didn’t and send them on their way, or we would forward them on to [another hotel] in town.”
    Sarah said despite the unwritten rule and despite never having seen an Aboriginal guest, she took a deposit for a room from an Aboriginal man from Adelaide last October. She claimed Ms Ball later gave the man his money back and asked him to leave.
    “I knew that by even giving keys to this guy I could get in trouble. But I didn’t think I would because he was just a regular guy. He was clean, he was polite, he was friendly.”
    Sarah said she was given a dressing down by Ms Ball in front of other Haven guests after the man left.
    “She was furious at me. She hissed. Her teeth were clenched.
    “In front of everybody she said, ‘No locals. No Aborigines. You know. What’s wrong with you?’”
    Ms Ball did not respond to telephone and email messages sent by The Age asking for a response.
    Sarah, an Alice Springs local whose partner is part-Aboriginal, said she left Haven about two weeks after the incident. “I hated working for them after that.”

  36. what all of you small minded people ‘commenting’ here don’t realise is that if it didn’t happen at the haven, it would of most definately happened at a different hostel. So instead of crucifying the manager & the hostel, why don’t you attact all of the hostel in the Northern Territory who do the same thing on a weekly basis. Or are you all just too narrow minded & scared.

  37. So, sarah, what you’re saying is that the “one-sided” story in the post is pretty much exactly correct? You don’t dispute the facts in it?

  38. I visited alice springs a couple of years ago and made the mistake of not pre booking my accomodation. I found that hotels were fully booked and had to call every place in the phonebook to find even 1 room for my partner and I. I called a motel called ‘Larapinta Lodge’ which I believe was on the site where the new hostel ‘Haven’ is now located. I was so relieved when the guy on the phone told me they had a room. He asked for my name which gave but then he hesitated. He actually asked me ‘are you white?’. I was shocked at his question but answered yes and asked why he needed to know. His reply was ‘We accomodate Aboriginals only’. I don’t think I need to say any more, my point is obvious.

  39. whn y’r mplyd s clnr n n lc sprngs bckpckrs y wll sn chng yr pnn n whthr r nt y wld lt crtn ppl st thr. mght mphss th jb pstn “clnr” nt “fcs n th bd rm flr clnr” nc gn, lk t th bg pctr &mp; stp bng s nrrw mndd

  40. I don’t think I need to say any more, my point is obvious.

    It’s not actually. Was the manager saying that you were not allowed to stay there, or was he implying that you might not want to stay there if all the other guests were Aboriginals?

  41. TIGTOG
    can’t you read…. she said the guy said “we accommodate aboriginals only”

  42. I think the people commenting on this site are very aggressive – I wanted to tell my story as I felt it illustrated another side to the arguement. I was told I wasn’t able to stay at the accomodation as I wasn’t aboriginal. This is such obvious racism and I can’t believe you are not astonished by it in the same way you all are about the original article.

  43. I merely wanted clarification, Elaine, because I wasn’t entirely sure whether your report of the manager’s words was meant to be a direct quote or a paraphrase.
    In principle, yes, if it was a public motel and you were told that weren’t allowed to stay there because they only cater for Aborigines, then that is racism and it’s equally unfair. If, however, you were merely advised that you might not want to stay there because they mainly cater for Aborigines, it’s still racism but it’s not directed at you, it’s catering to widespread prejudice amongst whites against Aborigines such as that expressed by Sarah Jones above.

  44. Elaine, I’m having a little trouble believing that your story isn’t either an invention or a misunderstanding of some sort. A brief google shows that Larapinta Lodge was a three star motel (not a hostel or budget motel), pitched itself squarely at the national and international travel market, advertised airport transfers and closeness to the Ghan station, and advertised on Asian tourism sites.

  45. Are you assuming the manager of the motel was not aboriginal?

  46. Hard to know, Elaine, based on your report of a phone conversation that obviously, based on a bit of research, doesn’t support the facts of how the Larapinta Lodge actually operated. I don’t know why that person on the phone would have lied about the motel’s practices to you, but it appears that they did.
    ETA: unless of course this conversation never actually happened.

  47. The parent company, Adventure Tourism Australia, is claiming that the manager did not tell the Yuendumu party to leave:

    Yesterday the company stated the manager had received numerous complaints from other guests about the group but had not asked them to leave.
    “The manager advised both parties of their respective views, that she was prepared to move the complainants and assured the lifesaving group that they were welcome to stay,” the statement read.

    That’s a fairly direct contradiction to the Yuendumu group’s claims, and it still seems highly unlikely that the manager would receive “numerous complaints” in the half hour after the group checked in. My money is on the manager making her own rules and now lying to cover up her high-handedness, and the parent company, which didn’t care about whether she was discriminating beforehand, now scrambling to cover its arse.

  48. I found it hard to believe what happened to me myself, being the only racism I have personally encountered. During my stay in Alice Springs I did tell my story to people that I met. They sort of laughed at my ignorance and told me that yes the motel was for aboriginals although it had once been more for backpackers. It seems strange that the motel is still advertised seen as it is no longer there, maybe their change of practice was never updated on the websites either. After all, I don’t think it is something they would be proud to advertise.

  49. Here’s an article from the Sydney Morning Herald which has the motel listed as a three-star hotel in 2004. It must have changed very rapidly indeed to become aboriginal-only accommodation between then and the time that the site was redeveloped into the current Haven resort.

  50. I’m sorry, I don’t understand the relevance of the listing from the smh article. Just because it is listed as a *** motel doesn’t mean that is wasn’t for ‘aboriginals only’. I don’t see why it can’t be both *** and for aboriginals…

  51. The star rating systems are based on hotels/motels adhering to certain standards, including being open to all comers. If the ratings authority found that the motel was not accommodating the general public as guests, they would lose their rating (submitted by anonymous inspectors).
    From a summary of the Australian star rating system:

    *** Well appointed with a comfortable standard of accommodation: above average furnishings and floor coverings.

  52. The star rating systems are based on hotels/motels adhering to certain standards

    Three stars also means around a hundred bucks a night.

  53. Here’s some interesting testimony to a Senate Committee regarding the Larapinta Lodge a few years ago.[pdf] The Senate Committee was investigating the indigenous arts industry and particularly claims of exploitation within that industry.

    Incident involving Amata artists at the Larapinta Lodge Motel – August 2005
    __________________________________________
    On or about 12 August 2005 I was informed by the Art Centre Manager at Tjala Arts (Sara Twigg Patterson) of a matter concerning artists from Amata.
    It was reported to me that:
    A bus driver operating a bus based in Alice Springs travelled to Amata (some 450 km. from Alice Springs) to invite a number of female artists to get onto his bus in Amata and travel to Alice Springs for a shopping trip. One of them was a well known, highly reputable artist. These ladies were told their accommodation would be paid for.
    On arrival in Alice Springs they were taken to the Larapinta Lodge motel. They had no money. After a number of days the motel management asked them to pay their bill which they were unable to pay. The ladies were presented with painting materials and told they could pay off their debt by doing some paintings.
    Following receipt of this information I visited the ladies at the motel. They were obviously under some stress and were very embarrassed and shamed.
    I met with the motel manager who I understand to be Karl Zustra. He told me that a man from Perentie Motors had made arrangements for art materials and payments for the paintings. He advised me that the outstanding accommodation bill amounted to $700.
    I made arrangements with the Art Centre at Amata to pay this amount on behalf of the artists and arranged for their transport back to their community.
    John Oster
    Executive Officer

    Perhaps the manager didn’t want someone like Elaine at his motel because he couldn’t rip Elaine off the way that he could rip aborigines off.

  54. Well done for shaming this dreadful place. I have been looking for somewhere…. some way…of letting people know what a racist establishment it is. Just appalling. Good idea re Thorn Tree…thats my next stop.

  55. The standard of backpacker accomodation in Alice is not high, and sarah jones is right in as far as basic hygiene can be an issue (the recently closed Melankas, which was the best known in town, had nasty issues with bed bugs, for example – not a trivial issue, bed bug bites can permanently scar), as can security (assaults in place that cater to the backpacker party crowd are common) — but these issues are in no way restricted to places that cater to Aboriginals. She could well be right that racist policies are followed at many routinely – it wouldn’t surprise me in the least, race is always a big issue in the town.
    lauredhel – I think ‘classy and stylish’ is a way of saying they don’t aim for that hard party crowd.
    I know I’d probably think twice about budget accomodation here, I’d avoid places that didn’t have a personal recommendaton.

  56. I agree that everyone is listening to one side of the story and is being quite unfair to the staff at Haven hostel, try putting yourself in their shoes! For one who takes a 3 MONTH OLD BABY into a BACKPACKER hostel!!!!!! 2 I have worked in the Tourism Industry for 6 years and generally most hostels in Australia dont allow Australians to stay there due to being a International Backpackers and I think they should have the right to move a big group of people no matter what colour or race if people feel threatened, ecspecially because they took a baby in a hostel that wouldve been sourounded by drunk travellers, that wouldve been another issue the hostel had to deal with. Most people that a writing these comments I think are a little to small minded, try living in Alice Springs for a while & your attitudes might change. Im not being rasist because even if a football team had checked in they wouldve been treated exactly the same………GET OVER IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  57. @55. That is utterly sickening. That stuff makes me livid and apparently it is a common practice to either rob artists in that way or violate copyright by reproducing people’s work for the tourist market without permission.

  58. Something I don’t think has been noted yet in this thread is the fact that a journalist from Crikey rang up the hostel asking to make a booking, and making it clear that he was from Australia. He was welcomed, and also told that the Haven Hostel even offers low cost travel insurance to Australian travellers.
    Via: ABC “PM” Show

  59. If you are in Alice Springs, it is really easy to buy wonderful Aboriginal art direct from the artist, or from one of the Aboriginal community groups that deal directly with the artist. Never buy Aboriginal art not authenticated by the artist (they will be happy to do so on the back), or you may be getting copies. And be prepared to pay a fair price, and you will still get much better value than you would for the same piece in a major city.

  60. Dee at #58

    For one who takes a 3 MONTH OLD BABY into a BACKPACKER hostel!!!!!!

    Someone who’s planning on sharing a room with people she’s known all her life?

  61. Dee:

    For one who takes a 3 MONTH OLD BABY into a BACKPACKER hostel!!!!!!

    Women travel with babies because women birth babies and women care for babies. This isn’t a very complicated concept. Mothers aren’t confined to quarters for the first five (ten, eighteen) years of their children’s lives. You’re in a feminist blog, you might care to take a look around.

    and generally most hostels in Australia dont allow Australians to stay there due to being a International Backpackers

    Which was not the case, as you can see.

    I think they should have the right to move a big group of people no matter what colour or race if people feel threatened, ecspecially because they took a baby in a hostel that wouldve been sourounded by drunk travellers,

    *scratches head*
    So … the drunks felt threatened by the three month old baby, so the baby was evicted?

    Im not being rasist because even if a football team had checked in they wouldve been treated exactly the same

    When was the last time a white football team was kicked out of a hotel for looking “scary”, without actually playing up first? Please show your work.

  62. Me too on the blog campaign for the boycott front.
    Keep up the good work, and let’s keep up the pressure on the racists.
    Mark Lawrence’s last blog post..Racism is alive and well in Australia

  63. goodonyer, Mark! You make some good points in your analysis there.
    Of The Above None has started up a blogspot just for the Haven Backpackers Resort, too. He’s put up lots of links to other accommodation in Alice. Lets hope that any other establishments which might have had similar racist practices learn a lesson from this storm of negative publicity for the Haven hostel.

  64. sarah jonesNo Gravatar
    Mar 11th, 2008 at 3:18 pm

    why dont you find out all the facts before accusing the hostel of any wrong doing.
    one reported said “it is discusting that in this day an age these things are happening. Well it is discusting in this day and age that you are only listening to one side.
    SHAME ON ALL OF YOU WHO BELIEVE EVERYTHING THE ABORIGINIES ARE SAYING
    wake up!

    Those of us who are white get our way so often we don’t know what it is like to not get our way, therefore we can make the deduction that if the hostel had a good arguement it would have clouded over the issue an no one would have ever heard about it.If those are the issues the hostel used to explain why they turned people away, why should that not be belived? White people huff gasoline too. Are white people going to be turned away?
    Now back to the issue at hand: Racism is never ok. I think we all have a bit of it but we need to learn how to use rational thought instead of fear. I am writing from Canada, and it is here like the plauge.

  65. I just spotted this story on the ABC:

    The manager of a central Australian health service says discrimination against Aborigines in Alice Springs is ongoing and distressing.
    The Western Desert Dialysis Corporation’s Sarah Brown has responded to reports that 16 Aborigines were allegedly evicted from the Haven Backpacker Resort in Alice Springs over the weekend.
    She says her corporation is often forced to book accommodation using personal credit cards because hotels will increase prices or simply refuse people entry once they are recognised as Aboriginal.
    Ms Brown says she will not use at least five hotels in Alice Springs for this reason.
    “Their rooms change to what are known unofficially as the ‘black rooms’ down the back,” she said.
    “We’ve had people being asked not to sit in the foyer or on lounge chairs because it will upset the tourists.

    Lauredhel’s last blog post..?Through heredity great things might be accomplished for the human race – as great things as have been achieved in the improvement of horses and cattle, fruits and flowers.?

  66. What has happened with this one hostel actually happens everyday in Alice Springs with every hotel and hostel!
    It is very hard to work in Alice Springs (which i have for 4 years) and deal with this as an everyday occurance. What would you do in this situation.
    [anecdotes of certain aboriginal guests behaving very badly deleted as irrelevant and prejudicial – moderator]
    There are a lot of beautiful aboriginal people in central australia whom i have the pleasure of knowing, they are disgusted at the way there race lives.
    So before saying the manager is racist ask you self what you would do in that siutaion.

  67. You’ll be pleased to know that this post is currently #5 in the google.co.uk search for “Haven Backpacker Resort” (not counting the paid link at the top). A BBC article comes in at #9. google.com.au has you at #3, with three other articles/blog entries about this story on the first page. Keep up the good work, everyone!
    Just something about “reverse racism” (mostly @Elaine). So-called “reverse racism” has to be put in the whole social context of the event. Race relations are rarely symmetrical, and they are certainly not symmetrical in Australia, especially when you consider the relationship between “whites” and Aboriginal people.
    In other words: “white” Australians are in a pretty powerful position, socially and otherwise, when compared to Aboriginal Australians.
    So. Even if it’s the case that you were “not allowed” to stay at a hotel because it catered only for Aboriginal Australians, that would not necessarily be racism – and it certainly wouldn’t be racism in the same way as not permitting Aboriginal Australians to occupy public space which is supposed to be available to “all normal people”.
    In a situation where Aboriginal Australians are blocked from “normal” public space, having a place where only Aboriginal Australians are allowed provides them a place where they can be safe from harassment – or worse.
    Even if they are no longer technically blocked from “normal” public spaces, attitudes like the one we see from Haven Backpacker Resort shows why such safe spaces may be necessary.
    Exactly the same principle applies to women-only spaces (which can also be controversial) – ie such spaces are not sexist, at least, not in the same way as a space which is supposedly for “normal people” but where women are not allowed.

  68. Amanda (#68)

    So before saying the manager is racist ask you self what you would do in that siutaion.

    Has anybody argued that guests who behave badly should not be chucked out?
    The problem here is that this particular group were not behaving badly, and were chucked out anyway. The manager prejudged this well-behaved group according to her stereotypes of how aboriginal people behave, and that pre-judgement is what was racist.

  69. So the moderator is clearly one sided when the moderator is clearly not printing both sides of the story – this website is a joke! You are only listening to one side – proving it by not printing what i wrote!

  70. Amanda, your anecdotes were irrelevant. None of us are ignorant about the horror stories about aboriginal violence and vandalism – we hear them all the time.
    But those are things that only some aborigines have done. Judging a different group of aborigines according to what some other aborigines have done is actually the essence of racism, despite your protestations otherwise.
    Football teams have a history of drunken vandalism and sexual assaults in hotels and hostels all over the nations. As Lauredhel said upthread, show me an example of a football team kicked out of a hotel BEFORE they mucked up, just because “that’s what footie teams do”. Go on. Just one.
    I suggest you also actually read our Commenting Guidelines before commenting again. Hate speech is not welcome here. There are plenty of free blog platforms out there if you want to get your opinion out on your own merits instead of piggybacking on ours.

  71. Way to go with your TV and internet based education on the matter, y dlts. Y nvr-ndng vts f stpdt hvn’t cl. sggst y ll g nd st n n brgnl cmmnt fr wk nd spctt, tht s ftr y p fr yr prmt t wlk n strln sl bng n strln nd ll, y knw, th sm sl th NZCS fght fr. Th brgnls r NT grt r rspctbl ppl – th r prmtv, ttll rrspnsbl wth *nythng* th tch nd th wll nvr ntgrt – nd t kp spndng (txpyrs) mn n thm s cmplt, ttl &mp; ttr wst. Th crrnt brgnl gnrtn hs bn bght p t ht wht sct nd wll nvr b hpp n mttr wht w d. Hv w sn sgnfcnt pstv rslt frm ll w’v trd t d, t dt? Np – ll hv t d s wlk t n th strt t s thm drnkng, bshng nd rpng ch thr. Th gvrnmnt s stll rlsng stds tht shw pdphl, lchl, ptrl snffng nd sxl bs fgrs hv hrdl hd dnt pt n thm. ll w hv t shw fr ll th mn s cpl f dt pntngs nd sm dncng, nd whl lt f smshd p hss t n th mddl f n-whr wth wlls knckd t nd frd flcns prkd n ktchns. Th d nthng ll d nd hv n ncm, s th wt fr smthng lk ths t hppn s th cn cr rcsm nd sqz vr lttl nc f ttntn nd cmpnstn s th cn frm t t kp th sppl f crs, br nd lstrn flwng fr lttl lngr. Stp pndrng t thm, stp gvng thm mn, stp hlpng thm t, stp blvng ll y s n TV nd thn tryng t psh glt n strl s whl nd stp drggng bsnss nms thrgh th md nd bycttng thm whn y hv nl hrd N sd f th str – th n tht blngs t th vr s hvl bsd md. I’m informing Haven of this article, and hope Haven sues your asses for slander.

  72. Yet another commentor who thinks that what other Aborigines allegedly do or have done has any relevance to what happened to this particular group of aboriginal lifesaving trainees.

    The Royal Lifesaving Society booked the accommodation and transport for the Yuendumu trainee party, and made sure that they got to the Haven Resort. Less than an hour later they had to come and get the trainee party and find them alternate accommodation. Not even Haven claims that the trainee party actually did or said anything offensive in that half hour or so.

    This is not some unsupported allegation that you can wish away by pointing at stereotypes of Aborigines. These were youth leaders from a dry community who were judged based on what they looked like rather than on anything they did.

  73. For management to have them removed, the aboriginals would have to have been doing something to draw negative attention to themselves in the first place. If you watch the news clip with interviews with the ‘victims’ – they would have to be the most un-convincing people ever to go before a camera and the fact they only show the one side of the story, it reeks of bullshit to me.
    They then would have been all annoyed with white man for inconveniencing them once again, so they use their oldest trick in the book – cry racism and try to draw as much attention and compensation from it as they can.
    Any business owner in this town who keeps up with current affairs wouldn’t dare try and evict someone from their business based purely on their skin colour. Th brgnls mst be cmpltly rtrdd t sggst ths s th cs.
    You all jump to the conclusion that “ooh, it’s from ABC, it must be true and correct!” – you’re all wrong, the media is wrong and to be dragging Haven’s name through the mud like this is slander.
    [Ableist abuse disemvowelled. I’ll leave tigtog to decide what to do with the rest of your racist, ignorant spew, as it is her post. ~lauredhel]

  74. lauredhil & tigtog – O.K, I admit that was an indirect insult to retarded people. Sorry. But what if I were to say their average intelligence is akin to that of a bag of hammers? Then I’d be desciminating against construction tools, even more so that I specified hammers. But then that would be an insult to hammers, having worked with them before. Kywrd thr bng: ‘wrkd’, s n, hmmrs wrk, brgnls dn’t, gt t? Har Har..
    gnrnt spw? ‘ll brk t dwn fr y, brght sprks. t’s rght n m drstp. gt t wtnss t ll frst hnd. I don’t get my information from a Jewish media news report to be brainwashed into believing the half-ass, left-biased view of these matters frm th thr nd f th cntr. t’s nt spcltn r ssmptn n mr. ftr thrt dd yrs f lvng lng sd thm, hv qt n ndrstndng n hw brgnls fnctn. t’s nt fckng rckt scnc. Th r *tdsl* prdctbl. ‘v sn ths hppn cntlss tms. S wht r yr srcs gn? ctll dn’t nswr tht. ‘ll d t fr y. Th mst nrlbl src n th plnt. Mnstrm md. t’s fll f hls nd lvs .% nsd wth t’s cvrg f n sd f th th str, spcll n css lk ths nvlvng rcsm. Thr sds t vr str, rght? Yrs, mn nd th trth. S fr w’v nl hrd th “yrs” sd, whch s lwys th frst t srfc nd s sll fll f sht. t sprks nvstgtn nt th “mn” sd t hpfll nd vntll gt t th trth. Snc w hvn’t sn th thr tw (bcs bsd md dsn’t llw fr th thr tw, s th r bsd, rght?) y shld qt bycttng bsnsss whn y hv n cncrt vdnc.
    And what is the deal with ‘disemvowelling’ my posts?
    Y rll cm crss s pr f brn-cll-cnt-dfcnt lbrl dchs n th rg.

    Grw p. You’ve sparked an argument by attempting to boycott a business without any reliable evidence and I’m posting to give it some contrast s m pssd ff t yr mmns stpdt n dng s

    [disemvowelling and text emphasis added by moderator without further comment]

  75. Racism, ableism, anti-Semitism, AND misogyny! These threads sure do attract the very best sort of commenters.

  76. does anyone knows if there is any other information about this subject in other languages?

  77. Sick and pathetic. Consider it blogged. How ironic that a company that touts “aboriginal culture” would turn away those on whom it exploits for its marketing.

  78. Yaz Okulu:

    does anyone knows if there is any other information about this subject in other languages?

    I don’t, but which language are you looking for? Google’s Translate This Page feature may be of some use (I’m not sure which languages it has available; I’ve only used Google in English.)
    If you’re Googling in one of the available languages, you can take the url from the top of this page, plug it into a Google search box, then hit Translate This Page where it appears next to the URL.
    A lot of the idiom might not come through, though.

  79. hvn dd th rght thng s fr s m cncrnd. fnd mtl nxt tm.
    [disemvoweled and given The Mark of the Troll by moderator]

  80. I am a US citizen who visited Australia once alone and three times with my mother and sister. We have been harrassed by only white panhandlers, and mostly in Melbourne and Sydney.

  81. Im actually really appalled at the backlash that Haven have received from this!! Not because i condone racist behaviour but because I have stayed at Haven and I know full well they are not racist people! Things have been taken out of context and people sometimes need to listen to both sides of the story!!

    I myself come from a multi-cultural background and do not condone any sort of racist behaviour, but we are all more than aware of the way that the media can completley blow a story up to be something that it isnt, or make it seem so much worse than what it is!!
    Im all for people voicing their opinion but to get personal with the staff is just down right pathetic.
    Shame on the people who dont know where to draw the line! and the people that dont listen to both sides of the tale!

  82. because I have stayed at Haven and I know full well they are not racist people!

    No, all you know is that they did not behave towards you in a racist way.

    Im all for people voicing their opinion but to get personal with the staff is just down right pathetic.

    Who has got personal with the staff? Nobody has mentioned the name of the manager who actually asked the group to leave.

    Shame on the people who dont know where to draw the line! and the people that dont listen to both sides of the tale!

    How much “both sides” can there be? The group was there for well under an hour before they were asked to leave, and even Haven doesn’t claim that they actually did anything wrong. Even the initial defence that other tourists staying there complained has been retracted.
    All they are left with is standing on their right to refuse service to anyone at their sole discretion. They certainly have this right, but that doesn’t mean that they are immune from criticism when they exercise that right in a racist way.

  83. Maybe noone here has got personal…i havent bothered to read all of the comments, but there are people out there thaty have! and i find that downright disgraceful
    Both sides – didnt haven release a statement that said they didnt ASK the people to leave? Did anyone perhaps take notice of this and think for a second..hmm mayne things were blown out of proportion..taken out of context etc?

  84. k s hv styd t th hvnth wr wndrfl stff wh hlpd m fnd jb nd hm n lc sprngsfr tht m vr grtfl mt mzng trvllrs thr s wllfrm ll vr th wrldrpsfrcmlbrndldsydnth prt bt th ntrntnl trst stff s lm xcs cs n ts nt trhwvr wll s tht wht hppnd sms t b nthng mr thn bsnss dcsn blwn t f prprtnbng nrth mrcn s th rcsm crd gt plyd vr d nd ts gttng trd hv dlt wth mn brgnl ppl n strl nd mst f thm r wndrfl nd mzng ppl ls knw tht hvng bn mggd b fr f thm n dld nd thr n lc sprngs tht thr r sm t thr wh hv srs dslk f trstss hvng nl hrd n sd f th str m lft t spclt f nythng ctll hppnd btwn th grp f trsts wh md th cmplnt nd th grp f wmn wh wr skd t lv th hstlfrm bsnss stndpnt ts n brnr s th hstl mks ll ts mn frm th trsts wh cm t lcs f ths grp f trsts mks cmplnt bt th hvn t wll ffct th rpt ntrntnl bsnss mch mr thn grp cmng fr n stprhps ths wmn wr ld nd ggrssv s hv sn mn f th brgnl wmn hr bt th pnt whr tr t vd cntct wth thmsd t sth pnt s tht smn md bsnss dcsn nd t ws blwn w t f prprtnth hvn nd dvntr trs mk s mn ppls lflng drms cm tr b shwng thm th rl strl nd fr thm t b rcst r nt brgnl wld mk bsltl n snst sms rll shtt tht ppls rpttns nd lvlyhds r trnshd bcs smn m hv bn ctng lk n dt nd clld n t, thn dcdd t pl th rc crdth pnt s w nl gt n sd f th str nd thr s lwys mr thn n sd s bfr w dstr th rpttn f smn w shld knw wh th dd wht th dd bfr pssng jdgmntbt ls s clrl sn hr hmn ntr s t ts fnst whn w xpld t th frst sgn f smthng tht sms pltcll ncrrcty r ll mr thn wlcm bck n th rl wrld whnvr y chs t cm bck t t
    [Disemvoweled by mod. ~lauredhel]

  85. y r pssy and jst s clsd mndd s th ppl y r ccsng f y cnt vn prtn ppls pnns… fl srry fr y…disemvowel this y bgtd rcst lsr…
    [comment disemvowelled by moderator ~ tigtog]

  86. Hey, you know you’re keeping this post in front of readers by repeatedly commenting on it, don’t you?!
    Thanks for that, I have a terrible memory and might have forgotten the name of the place to boycott when I eventually make it into Central Oz.

  87. funny how neutrality comes off so much like ugly bigotry sometimes…

  88. I’m way behind here — still trying to work out by what logic anti-racism is ‘closed minded’, ‘narrow-minded’ and ‘small-minded’.

Trackbacks

  1. So! What about that racism, then? « In a strange land
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  3. Kiwiblog » Blog Archive » Racism in Alice Springs
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