• A Redcliffe newsagency was called out for selling boomerangs advertised as 'bent sticks'. (Facebook)Source: Facebook
Aboriginal artist Michael Connolly was fined $126 after confronting a Queensland newsagency owner over the authenticity of the store's boomerangs, advertised as 'bent sticks'.
By
Ella Archibald-Binge

22 Jan 2018 - 5:01 PM  UPDATED 22 Jan 2018 - 5:26 PM

A Queensland police spokesperson confirmed a 60-year-old man was issued with an infringement notice for public nuisance following an incident in Redcliffe on January 15. 

The man in question, Aboriginal artist Michael Connolly, said he'd received the fine after questioning the owner of a local newsagent, Jetty News, about the so-called 'bent sticks' on sale out the front of the shop. 

"I said, 'where are they made, and are they made by Aboriginal people and painted by Aboriginal people?'” he told NITV News. 

Mr Connolly, who runs Indigenous art business Dreamtime Kulilla Art, said the owner claimed the product was Australian-made but refused to name the artists or show an Australian-made sticker. The owner then allegedly asked Mr Connolly to leave the store, and threatened to have him "removed".

Mr Connolly, whose ancestors were forcibly removed from their desert homelands, admits he lost his temper at that point and swore at the owner, prompting him to call the police. Five days later, on January 20, Mr Connolly says police arrived at his home to issue the public nuisance infringement notice after receiving witness statements claiming he'd used bad language. 

"We’ve come down to Aboriginal people getting abused, which hasn’t changed in 220 years. Police now are getting involved because they’re trying to get us off the streets - that hasn’t stopped for 220 years. So they’re still following the same laws as they have in this country for over 200 years," Mr Connolly says.

"We’ll take all your land, we’ll take all your families, we’ll take all your art and we’ll kick you to the kerb and shut your mouths."

Mr Connolly told NITV News he's seeking legal advice on whether to appeal the fine. 

A supporter of Federal MP Bob Katter's push to ban imported 'Aboriginal-style' art, Mr Connolly says fake art is "bastardising everything to do with our culture and our cultural lore". 

He says the 'bent sticks' have since been removed from the store, and hopes that by speaking out, it may lead to a legal shift whereby "Aboriginals can be making money out of [art] for their families and their communities".

NITV News contacted Jetty News for comment but a response was not received by the time of publishing. Jetty News' franchise marketing group, Nextra, said the business is a member of the 'news extra' brand group, which doesn't market or supply this or any similar products.

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