Prime Minister Tony Abbott says Adam Goodes shouldn’t have to put up with racial taunts, calling for an end to the relentless booing of the AFL star.
Mr Abbott said he understood why the Sydney Swans star was upset because no-one should be subjected to such treatment.
While not everyone may agree with his views, the former Australian of the Year deserved a basic level of respect, the prime minister said.
“And the last thing we want in Australia is anything that smacks of racism,” he told Radio 2SM on Friday.
“He is a good bloke, and I hope he will be treated with civility and dignity.”
The dual Brownlow medallist is on indefinite leave from the game and is reportedly considering retirement.
Mr Abbott’s comments are the first since the saga escalated following Sunday’s game against the West Coast Eagles in Perth, and comes amid joint plea by the captains of all 18 AFL clubs urging fans to stop the taunts.
His indigenous affairs minister has also blamed bigotry for the crowd behaviour, saying it was un-Australian.
“People should take a long look at themselves,” Nigel Scullion told The Australian on Friday.
The National Australia Day Council also rallied behind Goodes, labelling his treatment unacceptable.
The council urged the nation to rise above.
“We are better than this,” it said in a statement.
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has personally contacted Goodes to offer him support.
He said it was obvious Goodes was being targeted because of his indigenous background.
The “idiots” who booed him were letting themselves, and the nation, down.
“We don’t need the idiot element cheapening our country,” Mr Shorten told reporters in Melbourne.
“Just shut up. Don’t say anything. Keep your thoughts to yourself.”