Indigenous Australians are being offered an 80 per cent discount to elite cultural events such as the ballet and opera with the move slammed as ‘racist’.
The so called ‘Mob Tix’, which are also available to other First Nations people such as Maori and Pacific Islanders, do not require any proof of eligibility.
With the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum looking like it will be defeated next month, cultural institutions such as the Sydney Opera House, Australian Ballet and National Gallery of Australia are offering discounts of up to $170.
Sky News Australia host James Macpherson slammed the initiative claiming it was ‘racist’.
‘By choosing not to say you’re Indigenous, you actually help to subsidise tickets for Indigenous people,’ he said on Monday.
‘Isn’t this a little bit racist, simply implying that people would go if they get discounts?’
So called ‘Mob Tix’, which give up to 80 per cent discounts to Indigenous Australians for elite cultural events such as ballet (pictured) and opera, have been slammed as ‘racist’
The Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, Sydney Fringe Festival, Australian Open and music festivals are also among the institutions offering the discounts
The Sydney and Melbourne Symphony Orchestras, Sydney Fringe Festival, Australian Open and music festivals are also among the institutions offering the discounts.
Macpherson’s guest Liz Storer was outraged at the discount, asking ‘What about non-Indigenous people?
‘The automatic question is, what has someone done to deserve that? How would you earn that?’
Macpherson explained that ‘It’s for the disadvantaged,’ but his guest wasn’t happy with that, saying ‘No, no, no. But now you’re over-advantaged.
‘You’re put above the rest. You’ve got to pay less, or next to nothing for the exact same thing that everybody else has to go out of pocket for.’
Storer said when she goes to the ballet and art galleries it’s a ‘treat’ for her and not something she does every weekend.
‘This idea that if they don’t get it cheap they won’t go at all, isn’t that rather condescending,’ she said.
Another guest, Caleb Bond, asked ‘why is it only Indigenous people who get that?’
‘We’re talking discounts of up to 80 per cent, which is significant if you’re going to the opera or the ballet or whatever,’ he said.
‘Do I get a discount because I went to a public school? We know we have concession tickets, right, but the concession ain’t 80 per cent. It’s a lot less than that.’
Macpherson was also furious that the discount extended to people who are not Australian (pictured, music festivals have also offered discounts)
The concessions to high priced events, which are also available to other First Nations people such as Maori and Pacific Islanders, do not requite any proof of eligibility. Members of the Yolngu people are pictured performing during the Garma Festival on Sunday, August 6, 2023
Bond asked if the discounts could also be given to other low income earners. ‘Should we not be giving an 80 per cent discount to pensioners.
‘Should we not be giving an 80 per cent discount to people who are on the dole … to people who grew up in the foster system,’ he said.
Macpherson was also furious that the discount extended to people who are not Australian.
‘The amazing thing about this story… is it’s not just Australian Indigenous people,’ he said.
‘Someone visiting from overseas who classifies themselves as a First Nations person in their own country, they get a discount at our Opera House or our ballet as well.’
The Australian Ballet said ‘Mob Tix pricing is available to people who identify as being either Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Maori, Pasifika or First Nations.
‘No proof of eligibility is required and selection of this price type is at the discretion of the purchaser.
‘By not selecting Mob Tix if you are not eligible you are supporting the Australian Ballet to continue offering accessible options to our community.’
The National Gallery of Australia, Sydney Opera House and many other cultural institutions offer similar discounts and statements about why they do so.
Indigenous activist and prominent No campaigner Warren Mundine said the steep discounts for First Nations people was just a ‘box-ticking exercise’.
‘I don’t like this idea of diversity. It’s bizarre. You’ve got to have a bigger picture. I don’t know if this is going to help or make any difference. I don’t get the point of it,’ he told The Australian.
Mr Mundine said he paid full price when he went to the opera. ‘I don’t have a problem with targeting Indigenous people to come to the opera.
‘The target should be opening up these institutions to a larger audience in places like western Sydney and other places like that. That would make a difference.’