Last night’s Q&A panel had four people who might as well have not been there (with respect), and Jack Charles.
Uncle Jack, as he’s affectionately known, is an Aboriginal elder, actor, gay man, member of the stolen generation, ex-heroin addict and ex-thief, and Australian national treasure.
He was the exact opposite of what you can usually expect on a Q&A panel: common sense mixed with charm and unbelievable life experience, without a political agenda or personal brand to sell.
There’s a lot of people who are talking the talk on the panel but Jack Charles walks the walk #QandA
— Peta Dampney (@pwoodsy) June 1, 2015
First, let’s go to the mic dropping truth bomb he launched when asked if Adam Goodes was being too sensitive to criticism of his on-field ‘Aboriginal war dance.’
“No, he’s not being too sensitive,” he said. “We do expect it. Australia’s a unique country. It’s peculiarly racist against us. You have to know this. If you don’t know it, I can’t see why you don’t know it now.”
“But we see it. Australia itself is uniquely racist against Aboriginals. And I can’t put it any more succinctly than that. That’s my observations, that’s the observations of many other Aboriginals in Australia, and that’s how it is. And so it’s a long journey for us to undertake. Get used to it.”
Elder Jack Charles says it as it is – racism towards Aboriginal people is a reality in Australia #QandA
— Nicola Trenorden (@TrenordenNicola) June 1, 2015
Next let’s go to marriage equality:
“Australia’s come of age on this issue,” he said. The rest of the panel (Assistant Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Shadow Minister for Infrastructure Anthony Albanese included) agreed that it will probably pass this year; although Jack himself is not looking to get married, because he hasn’t found “Mr Right”.
Or how about the proposal to give the immigration minister the right to revoke citizenship of a sole Australian national for terrorist activities:
“This needs to be addressed seriously. We need to undertake measures, for the little fella holding that head. There’s a lot to unravel in those children’s minds. It should be done out here. ”
“They should be able to be taken back to this country, and have their minds unravelled, from this serious muck up that their father’s religion has brought upon them.”
He also casually pointed out that ex-Islamic State fighters returning home are the best warning to other would-be IS fighters that it’s perhaps not the best lifestyle choice to make.
Irony of Aboriginal elder Jack Charles discussing stripping of Australian citizenship having himself only earned citizenship in 1967. #qanda
— Sandra K Eckersley (@SandraEckersley) June 1, 2015
There were quips about lifestyle choices (“My lifestyle choice isn’t being homeless anymore“), drug abuse (“Don’t go shooting white powder up your veins. You’ll become a white gangsta!“), and advice to his younger self (“I would tell myself to go hunt up your identity“).
But perhaps the greatest service Jack Charles performed last night (and please, please take this in the satire it’s meant to be), was dropping this bit of solid Aussie slang on national television: “He has some peculiarities going on in the top paddock,” when discussing Man Haron Moris. “There’s some kangaroos up there.”
Uncle Jack, you legend. Someone start a petition to have a sole Q&A show dedicated to him stat.
Jack Charles is a national treasure. #qanda
— Lord Terry Frost (@terryfrost) June 1, 2015
ICYMI, the full Q&A program is up now.