A new ad campaign that questions how much the average Australian knows about the country’s history will hit screens today in the lead up to National Reconciliation Week.
The 30-second and 60-second ads show a non-Indigenous man enjoying a game of football, before he starts to address the audience.
“Oh g’day, I’m just your average Australian. I’m just doing average Australian things like watching Australian football with my Australian Shepherd,” he says.
The man says he knows quite a bit about our country – including that we have the “tastiest coat of arms in the world” – before he is interrupted by an Aboriginal woman.
“There’s also a bit that you don’t know. We’ve got the longest surviving culture on earth,” the woman says.
“Just your average artists,” an Aboriginal man chimes in.
“Warriors,” another Aboriginal woman says.
“Inventors,” a third Aboriginal woman offers.
The ad campaign highlights some of the lesser known aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and achievements, to prompt Australians to ask themselves: what are some of the things I don’t know about our shared history?
Australians will be asked to ponder that question during this year’s National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June), which is themed Don’t Keep History a Mystery: Learn. Share. Grow.
Many Australians are unaware of, or reject, fundamental aspects of history, according to the Australian Reconciliation Barometer.
The biennial survey commissioned by Reconciliation Australia and conducted by Polity social research consultancy explores the perceptions of a representative sample of Australians in order to gauge progress towards reconciliation.
The most recent Barometer survey revealed that:
- Almost one in three Australians do not accept that government policy enabled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to be removed from their families without permission until the 1970s.
- More than one in three Australians do not accept that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were subject to mass killings, incarceration, forced removal from land and restricted movement, throughout the 1800s.
Reconciliation Australia CEO Karen Mundine said National Reconciliation Week would raise awareness of the fact that historical acceptance is key to reconciliation.
“It’s essential that we know each other, and that we share an understanding of the history that has shaped the relationship between wider Australia and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as it stands today,” she says.
“Only by acknowledging, accepting and addressing our shared history can we become a more just and equitable Australia.”
The National Reconciliation Week ads will be screened on SBS, NITV, Foxtel and ICTV, in cinemas nationally, on Qantas in-flight entertainment, and on big screens in Brisbane’s Queen St Mall and King St Mall, Melbourne’s Federation Square, and Sydney’s Pitt Street mall.