Women playing AFL at a large arena.

Woman refused access to AFLW match for wearing ‘Yes’ shirt

A Queensland woman wearing a shirt in support of an Indigenous Voice to Parliament has been turned away from an AFL women’s match, after a security guard told her she couldn’t wear a “political” shirt into the arena.

Brisbane woman Elise Read, 32, said she was taking her seven-year-old daughter to watch the Lions verse Swans games at Brighton Homes Arena on Sunday afternoon when the incident occurred.

The shirt Ms Read was wearing had a slogan that stated “History Is Calling”.

“History is calling” is a campaign slogan from the Uluru Statement group. (X/Twitter: ulurustatement)

Ms Read said upon trying to enter the grounds a security guard at the gate told her “political” shirts were banned.

“He told me I could go to a Big W nearby to get another shirt,” Ms Read said.

She said she returned to her car, flipped the shirt inside out, and tried to enter again, but the same security guard told her she wasn’t allowed to bring the piece of clothing inside the venue.

She said friends eventually brought her a spare shirt and she was able to enter the grounds.

Women playing AFL at a large arena.

Ms Read was finally able to enter the grounds when her friends arrived with a spare shirt.(Supplied: Elise Read)

“I asked the security guard on the way in how many people had been turned away, and he said a few people weren’t allowed in because of their shirts,” Ms Read said.

She said the security guard told her it was a venue policy.

“A few of the other workers seemed perplexed, as did a lot of the people who were entering the grounds at the same time,” she said.

A sign at the entrance to the stadium did not state that “political” items of clothing were banned.

A list of items one can and cannot bring into the arena.

Political clothing is not on the list of prohibited items at the Brighton Homes Arena.(Supplied: Elise Read)

A spokesperson from the Brisbane Lions said they are aware of the incident.

The AFL Ticket and Entry Conditions state that patrons cannot “wear or otherwise display commercial, political, religious or offensive signage or logos of any kind”.

Under Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Act 1991, it is unlawful to discriminate against a person because of their political belief or activity.

Support for Indigenous Australians

Bridget Burton, a lawyer from Caxton Legal Centre, said Queensland had some of the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the country when it came to expressing political beliefs.

“This includes when a person is accessing goods and services, such as an entertainment venue,” Ms Burton said.

She said about six years ago, a venue had to pay compensation to an event organiser after they cancelled a guest’s booking due to differing political beliefs.

“Its ironic to turn away a mum and her daughter attending an AFLW game, and especially since the Lions have so many Indigenous players,” Ms Read said.

The AFL has publicly supported a Voice to Parliament, as has the board of the Brisbane Lions.



Author: Russell White