Race claim on cheese blasted

A COMPLAINT about the name of Coon cheese was an absurd example of political correctness out of control, Opposition Leader Rob Borbidge told Parliament yesterday.
Toowoomba Aborigine Stephen Hagan lodged a complaint on Tuesday with the Human Rights Commission seeking to have the popular cheese brand ``Coon'' removed from the shelves or changed.
Mr Borbidge said the suggestion was bizarre and would waste the commission's time.
``The late Dr Edward Coon could not help his name,'' Mr Borbidge said. ``The fact is that it (Coon cheese) was named after the founder.
``It's clear that there needs to be some sort of filter system in regard to complaints to these bodies so that these sorts of exercises don't get past first base.''
Society was approaching the stage where it had to draw a line to prevent vexatious complaints, Mr Borbidge said.
Mr Hagan has been in the media recently after attempts to change the name of a grandstand at a Toowoomba sporting oval.
He objected to the structure still bearing the name the ``Nigger Brown stand'' after a local footballer of the 1920s.
``When my wife and I go into supermarkets now, it is common for local cowboys and rednecks to call out, `Darling, I hope you haven't forgotten the coon','' Mr Hagan said.
``They can be a long way from the dairy bar, and they are just goading me.''
Coon cheese was patented in November 1935 by American scientist Dr Edward William Coon. It was named after him because he discovered that regulating the temperature and humidity enabled him to achieve a specific taste.
The cheese was on the Australian supermarket shelves from 1935 to 1942, then stopped for the war, and came back in January 1948.
Mr Hagan said the Macquarie dictionary definition of coon is ``a derogatory term for a dark-skinned person, or a raccoon''.
``If this was such an acceptable brand name, why haven't Kraft, who owned it up to two years ago, been able to market it under that name in either America or Britain?''
Scott Watkins, marketing manager of Dairy Farmers' cheese division, said the company would not change the name of Coon cheese.