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Abeeku’s story

Abeeku describes being discriminated against because of his race when booking gigs with his band. We explain how the Equal Opportunity Act relates to his situation, and how the Commission can help people who have a similar experience.

Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash

"The new owner said that our gigs attracted too many people from the African community and that he was worried about how their other patrons felt. I asked him if he was kidding. He said he wasn’t."

“I play drums in a band, and we have gigs at a few venues around town. Usually we attract a decent crowd, and the venues we play at are very supportive. Recently, one of our regular venues changed hands, and the new owners said they wouldn’t be booking us anymore. I asked why, and the new owner said that our gigs attracted too many people from the African community and that he was worried about how their other patrons felt. I asked him if he was kidding. He said he wasn’t.

A friend had made a complaint to the Commission before, so I got in touch to find out if there was any way this kind of racial discrimination was allowed.

The Commission accepted my complaint and followed up with the venue owner. He apologised and agreed to make sure all his staff understood that they couldn’t discriminate like that.”

The incidents portrayed in this story are inspired by real complaints received by the Commission, but all names and other identifying details have been changed.

How does the law apply to Abeeku’s situation?

In Victoria, it’s against the law for you to be discriminated against, harassed or bullied because of your race.

Under the Equal Opportunity Act, race includes colour, descent or ancestry, nationality or ethnic background, or any characteristics people might associate with a particular race. The Act applies to many different parts of public life, including accommodation, provision of goods and services, and employment.

You can make a complaint

Get help from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

You can make a complaint to us if you think you have experienced:

If you wish, someone else can make a complaint for you. Find out how the Commission helps people resolve complaints.

We can also give you information about your rights.

More information

More stories

Nina's story

"The owner could be quite racist – sometimes I’d hear him talk about customers and be pretty disgusted. He wasn’t particularly friendly to me, but I just got on with the job."

Click here to read Nina's story

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Address
Level 3, 204 Lygon Street Carlton Victoria 3053

General enquiries
enquiries@veohrc.vic.gov.au

Reception
1300 891 848

Enquiry line
1300 292 153 or (03) 9032 3583

Interpreters
1300 152 494

NRS Voice Relay
1300 555 727 then use 1300 292 153

Media enquiries
0447 526 642

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission stands on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung Peoples of the Kulin Nation. We recognise their cultures, histories, diversity and deep connection to this land and pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

Sovereignty has never been ceded – this land always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.