Queensland’s Transport Minister has ordered an immediate investigation after a rail worker forced a Paralympian into a humiliating test to prove he could travel unassisted.
The incident left Richard Cordukes fuming – and he missed his friend’s wedding in Bundaberg.
Mr Cordukes had no trouble getting around at the 1988 Seoul Paralympics, where he won silver and bronze for Australia.
He’s travelled on trains in Germany and Japan, but it was in Townsville where he came across an unexpected obstacle.
The 66-year-old was on the Spirit of Queensland train when he was asked if he had a carer.
“I said ‘no, why do I need a carer? I’m getting on a wheelchair-accessible train’,” he told 7News.
“They said, ‘well, you show me how you get in the seat, so I did.”
In front of other passengers, he then had to show he could get himself off the seat.
But a Queensland Railway worker wasn’t satisfied, and the Townsville man, who lives by himself, was kicked off the train and left behind on the platform.
Mr Cordukes has now lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission.
“For him to be discriminated in this way is an absolutely tragic set of circumstances,” Inclusion Movement disability advocate Geoff Tarprett said.
“He should have an apology from the Minister and Queensland Rail.”
Queensland Rail says it has contacted Mr Corduke to provide a refund and to discuss future travel with a carer.