Two high-profile Indigenous activists have filed complaints with the Australian Human Rights Commission alleging they were racially discriminated against at a Townsville service station.

Renowned nurse and midwife Gracelyn Smallwood is alleging a service station attendant locked her fuel pump while she was attempting to fill her car at a service station because she is Aboriginal.

The Bindal elder, who is a Member of the Order of Australia, says she was forced to request that her pump be unlocked while other, non-Indigenous, customers were able to freely access the fuel.

Professor Smallwood says she felt “humiliated and intimidated” after the alleged incident at a Shell service station in the Townsville suburb of Belgian Gardens two weeks ago.

Professor Smallwood has lodged a racial discrimination complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission.(ABC News)

“If my car hadn’t been on empty, I would have gotten in it and driven to another servo, such was my anger at what I believe was being played out,” she said.

Professor Smallwood said she contacted colleague Stephen Hagan about the incident shortly afterwards.

Dr Hagan is an Indigenous businessman and activist who agreed to a legal settlement with retail giant Coles over a similar alleged incident of racial discrimination at one of its service stations two years ago.

The service station in Belgian Gardens is owned and operated by Night Owl Convenience. (Supplied: Power 100)

He also previously led a successful campaign to rename Coon Cheese because he said it had racist connotations.

“I rang him and told him I believed I had just been racially profiled, as he had been back in 2020,” Professor Smallwood said.

Dr Hagan said he wanted to believe Professor Smallwood’s alleged treatment had been an isolated incident and drove to the service station to fill up as a “test.”

Stephen Hagan has also filed a racial discrimination complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission over similar alleged treatment.(ABC North Queensland: Zilla Gordon)

He claims he was also discriminated against by the same attendant because he was Aboriginal.

“I couldn’t activate my bowser … when the white man using the same pump on the opposite side to me was filling his car uninterrupted,” Dr Hagan said.

Professor Smallwood says their alleged treatment is extraordinary in 2022.

The pair have filed complaints with the Australian Human Rights Commission, claiming they have been racially discriminated against.

They have also engaged Stewart Levitt, an experienced class action litigator, to facilitate their claim.

Stewart Levitt has been engaged by Professor Smallwood and Dr Hagan to work on the claim.(Supplied)

Professor Smallwood and Dr Hagan say they want to engage in mediation with Night Owl Convenience, the owner and operator of the service station.

They are also calling for $100,000 each in compensation in response to what they claim was an “unlawful action that offended, insulted, humiliated and intimidated.”

In a statement, Night Owl Convenience said it was investigating.

Extracted in full from: Indigenous activists call for $100,000 compensation after racial discrimination claim against service station – ABC News

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