Racism and Strife at Incitec: 1998 Mincon get in touch, I had worked for them previously, on a dragline shutdown at Meandu Mine in 1997, that job they put us up at Kingaroy .. after the boss paid the bill at the motel, he tells everyone, that all the work gang had accessed the pornographic movie, on the in house TV, except one .. "stand up Martin."

This time we would be at Incitec, a plant which produces fertilizer from natural gas, the start date was Thursday, however since I was a new starter, I would be required to attend a two hour induction, at the plant training centre on the Tuesday.

The job started all right, the Mincon supervisor was Wayne Johnston, who had played centre for Carlton in the 1980's, I had only briefly met him at Meandu the previous year, and was tickled pink to be working with him.

The day we started he drove me to the car park, I had taken my tools onto the job but found they were not necessary, during the drive I told him I was a footy fan, and had been a fan of his, he said he had a great time playing footy, and that he hoped the job went well, he gave me his telephone number, and said to ring if there were any problems .. we parted with a good understanding.

Come payday, I had not been paid the two hours pay for the induction, thus at twenty five an hour I was fifty bucks down on my pay, I was at home when I discovered the discrepancy, and rang Tom the Mincon paymaster. He was drunk, ill mannered, and entirely unhelpful. At work the following day, I see Ian Baxter who started with me who attended the same induction, I asked him if he had been paid the two hours, he said that he had not, but did not wish to make an issue of it.

I ring Wayne Johnston he was full of ****, he had undergone a personality change of Jeckle and Hyde proportions, I had already checked with Incitec staff, who simply said no drama, the situation had existed from the year dot, all Mincon had to do was include the induction payment on the bill .. I tell this to Johnston, he goes off his fukken head starts...

"Who the **** do you think you are, the shop steward or something.." I tell the prick he needs to get the money .. blah blah blah, it's smoko by then, in the smoko room Ian Baxter starts up., he comes up with a bodgey Aboriginal accent .. Now, although I may appear to some Australians as European, I appear to others as aboriginal, particularly when I am heavily bearded, as I was at that time.

I am not gonna let my poor old grandpa, who died in Battery Point Hobart Town down, he assured me in 1955, that both he and me were of the Tasmanian aboriginal people, mothers father, appeared to be a mainland aboriginal from South Australia, her mother was from Scotland .. truth is that I am of mixed race, like Jesus Christ.

So there's Ian referring to my choice of western style clothing, going... 'is that a western style shirt...' just a hint of the word boy... 'you been out west b...' snorts are coming from around the table '...they got rodeos out there right...' just the start of sniggering. I would have reminded him that there are boxing tents as well, but it had gone beyond that, he was rocking back on his chair at the end of the table, and was laying hard down on good ol' me.

After Uncle Ian got to me, the school counselor told me to punch my father, I failed to, I punched the European who tried to molest me, but not my father .. he too would rock back on his chair at the table, likewise to a chorus of snorts and chuckles, abusing me, I did not want to make the same mistake here.

I rise from my seat, and belt him under his open gob with my left, following up immediately with a right to the side of his head, he is knocked off of his chair to the floor, and gets up fighting, he's half way up and I land a left to his cheekbone, providing him with a depressed fracture, and leaving a dent in his face which he will take to the grave.

There is no more fight in him, so I resume my seat to finish smoko. I get the sack of course, he doesn't .. as security are escorting me to the gate, I see the prick coming out of the canteen and belt him again.