herald

Friday 24 November 2017

Aborigines show off Aussie PM's shoe as battle trophy

Aborigine protesters have brandished the shoe lost by prime minister Julia Gillard as she was rescued from a violent rally, claiming they want it to be the symbol of a move to "give us back our country".

The shoe, a dark blue, Midas court shoe, has been handed to Pat Eatock, an Aboriginal elder, who says Miss Gillard should collect it within a week or it will be sold on eBay.

A shoe purported to be Miss Gillard's attracted bids of ¤1,600 on the site before it was removed from sale.

"I see it sitting like Cinderella's shoe in a glass case in a museum 10 years from now as this is part of the history of race relations in Australia," said Miss Eatock (75), who was the first Aboriginal woman to seek election to parliament.

The ugly scenes in Canberra on Thursday have caused a furore, prompting widespread media coverage, inflaming racial tensions and leading to the sacking of one of the prime minister's aides.

Protesters calling for Aboriginal sovereignty burnt an Australian flag outside Parliament House, as indigenous leaders called for calm and some denounced the violence as a disgrace.

The angry scenes in Canberra were triggered by remarks by Tony Abbott, the opposition leader, who suggested a 40-year-old Aboriginal tent embassy was no longer relevant and should be dismantled.

Miss Gillard said she would not be reclaiming her shoe.

"I am a woman with a few pairs of shoes," she quipped.

hnews@herald.ie

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