Domestic Travel

Wed, 10 Apr, 2019Basmah Qazi

Kerri-Anne Kennerley visits Aboriginal community: “Do you forgive me?”

Kerri-Anne Kennerley visits Aboriginal community: “Do you forgive me?”

Kerri-Anne Kennerley has paid a visit to members of a remote Aboriginal community in the Northern Territory after her controversial segment about Australia Day on Studio 10 which branded her as a racist.

She’s had a rocky few months, with her on-screen clash with Studio 10 co-host Yumi Stynes in January over her Australia Day comments, followed closely by the death of her beloved husband, John Kennerley in February.

Having received an invitation from the Tangentyere Women’s Family Safety Group, Kennerley travelled to the Northern Territory and was introduced to co-ordinator, Shirleen Campbell.

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“We’re here to teach you, and you’re here to teach us,” said Ms Campbell, who knows the affect domestic violence can have on a person’s life better than anyone, having lost three women in her family to the crime.

Ms Campbell’s grandmother was orphaned during the Coniston massacre in 1928, the last known officially sanctioned massacre of Aboriginal Australians.

The 36-year-old is passionate about bringing family violence amongst Indigenous communities to a halt, after her own mother suffered from a tragic death.

The mother-of-five said she was “upset and angry” after Kennerley’s comments about Australia Day protesters.

In January, Kennerley openly condemned Australia Day protesters on a segment of Studio 10, asking if any of those who were raising their voices had “been out to the outback where children, babies, five-year-olds are being raped? Their mothers are being raped, their sisters are being raped. What have you done?”

Also joining the panel was Stynes, who slammed Kennerley’s statements as “not even faintly true” and that she was sounding “quite racist”.

“Keep going then because every time you open your mouth, you’re sounding racist,” Stynes clapped back during the segment.

The dispute was the subject of media headlines for days, dividing the country due to opposing views.

“I felt upset. My head was all over the place. Then I thought – no, we’ve got to bring Kerri-Anne here to show what we’re doing,” Ms Campbell told Ten.

As the two women sat with each other in Alice Springs, Kennerley said her comments were “never meant to be offensive” and held onto Ms Campbell's hand asking if she had been forgiven.

“Do you forgive me, by the way?” asked the 65-year-old TV icon.

“Yeah I do. We’re all women and humans at the end of the day,” said Ms Campbell.

After the insightful visit, Kennerley said she had “learned a lot; and I hope that (the Women’s Family Safety Group) continue at greater speed.”

“It’s been a pretty intense cross-cultural experience, both for Kerri-Anne and her hosts,” said Hugh Riminton, Ten’s national affairs editor who joined Kennerley on the trip.

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