The plight of the Good Samaritan

GROWING up in this beautiful and lucky country, I always felt like the term ‘Good Samaritan’ was fairly well interchangeable with the word ‘Australian’.

Helping people out has always just been the Australian way.

I remember being about 14 years old hanging out with a group of friends at Burleigh. We were at the beach, stretched out on towels and ignoring the ocean, when a domestic dispute broke out near the surfboard hire shack.


There was a guy in his late 30s screaming at his partner – he was really going to town. She was giving back what she got, but when he aggressively started to move towards her, she held her hands over her head and cowered.

It was a terrifying moment.

It was the first (and remains the last) time I’d even seen domestic violence up close. Her little boy stood to the side, looking impossibly sad and resigned, and I wished in that moment that I could take him home with me, away from his dysfunctional and violent family situation.

As scary as it was, that day on the beach I also witnessed firsthand the truth of the Australian spirit. As that aggressive man stalked towards his partner, just about every male on that beach stood up and made their way towards the couple.

One guy, closest to them, called out, “Mate, step back”. He turned around and saw hundreds of eyeballs on him, with dozens upon dozens of men closing in on him.

He didn’t stop yelling and cursing, but he didn’t lash out physically after that. The police soon arrived and I have no idea what happened to that family afterwards. I hope the woman was able to find the strength and courage and support to leave him.

What I do know is how much I admire the Aussie spirit, which is grounded in the concept of the ‘Good Samaritan’.

Such was the case with Graeme Hunt, who saw his neighbour was in trouble. He could see a dispute was building and he called out. That’s when he heard shots fired; one of the bullets missed his heart by a millimeter, and lodged in his spine.

Graeme is now a paraplegic. The 62-year-old has just moved to Tweed from Sydney and his goal is to be “as independent as I possibly can”.

His mates have started fundraising for him to help him get back on his feet, and I for one will be donating to his cause.

It’s the Australian thing to do.