opinion

Wayne Carey is returning to prime-time TV. That's how easily Australia forgets.

The following deals with domestic violence, which may be triggering for some readers.

On Sunday night, Wayne Carey will return to national prime-time television. 

It's ostensibly for a good cause. The former AFL player turned commentator will be removing his clothes on Seven's The All New Monty: Guys and Gals, a program that uses the lure of stripping celebrities to raise awareness of various cancers.

Yet however admirable the goal, Carey's casting is anything but.

Watch: Wayne Carey is apparently about to face his 'biggest challenge'. Ok.


Video via Seven


Wayne Carey is a convicted violent offender.

In 1997, he pleaded guilty to indecent assault after grabbing a woman’s breast on a Melbourne street, allegedly asking her, "Why don’t you go and get a bigger set of tits?" The matter settled out of court.

In 2007, Miami police were summoned to a luxury hotel after Carey allegedly smashed a wine glass into the face of his then girlfriend, Kate Neilson, during a confrontation in the hotel's restaurant. When police went to the couple's suite, Carey lashed out and kicked a female officer in the mouth. He was convicted of battery on a law-enforcement officer, while Neilsen decided not to press charges.

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In 2008, police were called to Carey's Port Melbourne home amid reports of a domestic dispute. When they arrived, he assaulted them and had to be subdued with capsicum spray. He was convicted and fined $2000 for assault and resisting police.

While initially sacked from Channel 9 and 3AW, television networks and the AFL community ultimately forgave Carey these crimes. Or at least that's the message they sent when he was returned to the Seven commentator's chair in 2014 and cast on weekly 7Mate panel show Talking Footy.

And now on Sunday, there he'll be, dancing around with his gear off on prime time television, where he'll likely be identified as an "AFL great" or "football legend" or some other shiny superlative.

The audience will laugh and cheer and tweet along, because his ongoing mainstream media presence has allowed us to forget what he's done; and because in casting him, television networks have given us implicit permission to dismiss his crimes as simply 'in the past'.

Only, domestic violence isn't in the past. It's happening now, here, where Australian police deal with one domestic violence matter every two minutes on average.

As long as high-profile offenders are offered up as cheeky entertainment, as long as they are given a platform (on which any of a dozen other people could easily have stood instead), then it's clear: our culture still isn't willing to take this issue seriously.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.

Feature image: Getty.

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