Karla Grant ‘racially targeted’ in Alice Springs

NITV presenter Karla Grant has detailed a recent incident in which she believes she was racially targeted by Northern Territory police when buying alcohol in Alice Springs.

Speaking at the the Women In Media national conference on the Gold Coast yesterday, the Living Black host said explained the incident occurred after a long day of filming. When she and a non-Indigenous colleague went to get “a bottle of wine and a couple of beers” to have at a nearby restaurant, a female police office stopped her at the entrance.

“She focused in on me and said ‘have you got any ID? where are you staying?’ said Grant.

“I was so shocked and she didn’t ask for my producer’s ID, she just asked me, she really focused in on me.”

The female police officer also warned Grant multiple times about taking alcohol to a restricted area.

“I said ‘Yes, I’m well aware of this, but I’m not taking any alcohol anywhere, I’m just taking it around the corner to a restaurant where we’re having dinner’,” she said.

“Do I look like a grog runner? I don’t think so.”

“I just feel it was totally out of line. She didn’t even believe that I was staying at a hotel and wanted proof of where I was staying.”

She added, “My producer was fuming. He was like ‘Oh my God, this is so racist’.

“I happened to run into a friend who was coming into the alcohol store as well and I told him what happened and … he said ‘It happens to us all the time’.

“It’s totally racist. I think the town has got better in terms of racism but it’s still there. It’s underlying.”

In a statement, Northern Territory Police said it was “not aware” of any complaint in relation to the incident.

Source: ABC, NITV


  1. The fact that this presenter asked “do I look like a grog runner…” shows that she herself has a racial bias, an inbuilt idea of what a “grog runner” would look like. She assumed that despite being indigenous, the fact that she was well-presented meant that no-one would associate her with being a criminal. One needs to be careful not to cry racism, while displaying entrenched assumptions about other groups.

  2. Ok for those people who have never been to Alice Springs let alone buy alcohol there. You will find police at every where you can buy alchol. It is the law they can ask you for identification and any other questions. This happens whether you are black, white, etc etc. This is part of the law that was supported by the communities as a way of working together in Alice Springs. One of the reasons they do this as there are many areas in Alice Springs itself and surrounding areas that are dry and no alchol are allowed in because of past alchol violence. This is standard practice. There are restrictions in the day when you can buy it to. That policewoman asking her for ID and asking her Questions was doing her job.

      • Just because the producer wasn’t asked does mean the police was being racist. Look at what happens when you go through the bomb test at the airport. Unless you have seen how it is in person it is far from being racist. From a outside it may seen that

        • That’s a false equivalence. Being swiped at the airport is vastly different to being pulled up by the police when purchasing alcohol. And I have seen it first hand, in fact been in an almost identical situation. I was given a free pass & my companions absolutely grilled, despite the fact that I was the one who had purchased two bottles of wine. No prizes for guessing who where the Indigenous Australians in our small group.

    • Ok, but to accept that explanation as explicitly as stated, is the job to only ask the person who appears to be aboriginal in a group? And is the job to go as far as asking for proof of her staying in a hotel? There’s “doing the job” and there’s doing more but with a definite bias and to me, this carries on to the latter.

  3. It does seem out of line. The authorities are supposed to be working together with the communities. Especially in the NT, they should be aware of Karla Grant as she is a notable person.

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