Today show host Brooke Boney had ‘tears in her eyes’ and was ‘overcome with emotion’, while revisiting the explosive Australia Day debate that kicked off her gig on the breakfast show earlier this year.
A former radio presenter on Triple J, Brooke joined the breakfast program as an entertainment reporter this year, but got the audience offside in one of her very first appearances when she commented on the Australia Day date-change debate.
She took to Instagram yesterday to share her visceral, emotional response to revisiting the incident on SBS’ Insight.
As part of a special NAIDOC edition, high-profile Indigenous figures including Brooke spoke about race and the public, and Brooke was visibly shaken as she revisited the ‘bloody big’ public response to her comments.
What all the fuss was about
At the time Brooke, as an Indigenous Gamilaroi Gomeroi woman, was asked by co-hosts Deborah Knight and Georgie Gardiner to share her opinion on the debate.
“I can’t separate 26 January from the fact that my brothers are more likely to go to jail than school or that my little sisters and my mum are more likely to be beaten or raped than anyone else’s sisters or mum. And that started from that day,” was her response.
Though she clarified that she considers Australia to be the ‘best country in the world’, one that she is proud of, that didn’t stop a tornado of abuse being unleashed on the new personality as a result.
The ‘severe’ backlash
“I wasn’t expecting it to be as big or as severe as what it was,” she said on Insight. “I knew there’s a big part of our country who haven’t heard different perspectives on big questions of our national identity before...”
She explained that bringing that diversity of perspective to new platforms was what compelled her to join Nine in the first place, but that she could never have predicted the outcry.
“... It hurts more when people say awful things about your brothers and sisters or your mum,” she said, adding that with the anger, came support as well.
“But then you get all this support from people who love and care about you — and also from strangers. It’s the most amazing thing — you realise you’ve said something that’s hit a nerve.”
The response to her Instagram post was almost unanimously positive , with many praising her courage at withstanding the turbulent time.
“You’re made of that special stuff bones,” one fan wrote.
“Brilliant Brooke!” said another.
“Thank you (and the other panelist) for sharing your stories of bravery and reliance,” a touched viewer shared. “Truly inspiring!”
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