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Announcer: Heads up, if you’re Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, you should be aware that this trailer contains the voices and names of deceased persons.

Bob Hawke: It’s been too long, far too long. There shall be a treaty negotiated between the Aboriginal people and the government on behalf of all the people of Australia.

Galarrwuy Yunupingu: If there’s a media in the crowd, please, make it right.

Daniel Browning: Bob Hawke signed the Barunga statement, but it was never brought before the parliament.

Sol Bellear: It now gives me great pleasure to introduce the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Paul Keating.

Tanya Hosch: It was significant because I think it was the first time you had such a senior political leader telling the truth about Australia’s history.

Paul Keating: The problem starts with us, the non-Aboriginal Australians. It begins, I think, with an act of recognition. Recognition that it was we who did the dispossessing. We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life.

Protestors chanting: BLACK LIVES MATTER! BLACK LIVES MATTER!

Kartanya Maynard: You get tired. It makes you so heartsore. Even during a pandemic, we need to make our voices heard.

Fran Kelly: Family members of Dunghutti man David Dungay are drawing direct parallels with the death of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police.

Leetona Dungay: My son, David Junior was pushed down into the ground by heavy officers. David cried out, “I can’t breathe”.

Protestors chanting: NO RACIST! POLICE! NO JUSTICE! NO PEACE!

Christine Dungay: They were charged straight away and look at us. We’re still standing here trying to get justice for my brother five years later.

Stan Grant: The media is driven to crisis, the media is driven to conflict. The media doesn’t see its role in being there to advocate for Aboriginal political aspirations.

Protestors chanting: BLACK LIVES MATTER! BLACK LIVES MATTER!

Heidi Norman: Yaama, my name is Heidi Norman. I was born and grew up on the wooded plains of western Sydney, where we lived along South Creek on the north west flank of the city. My mum, my grandmother, great grandmother, great great grandmother and so on, for thousands of generations were born to the grasslands plains country of north western New South Wales. And that, in part, is what brings me to do the work that I do. I’m a professor at the University of Technology, Sydney. In my job, I get to think about questions of power in relation to Aboriginal citizens, the state and settler society and Aboriginal land justice. This means I’m often thinking about how we encounter and face the history and the legacy of settler colonialism. Lately, it feels like there’s been an awakening in the world. An awakening about our shared responsibility to the land, water and animals, and to one another.

Heidi Norman: And so I wanted to use this moment to talk to you because this is the beginning of a conversation that is long overdue.

Heidi Norman: Ever since Captain James Cook took possession of the continent known as Australia, the interest of settlers have dominated media coverage, and especially as they relate to Aboriginal views and voices.

Heidi Norman: My colleagues and I analysed 45 years of print media reporting of Aboriginal initiatives for self-determination, and we found that the media has systematically and substantially failed, if not undermined and denied Aboriginal aspirations for self-determination, starting with the Larrakia petition of 1972, a founding document for the National Land Rights Movement, all the way up to the 2017 Uluru Statement from the Heart – a statement which calls for voice, treaty and truth telling about our history.

Megan Davis: We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country.

Heidi Norman: When looking at these moments, we asked how did the press frame these stories and how have they reported the actions of Aboriginal activist advocates and communities? We found, without a doubt, a deficit discourse, a point of view that Indigenous people start from a place of failure.

Heidi Norman: This narrative is damaging. It’s wrong, and it needs to change. A shift needs to be made to create accurate and unbiased reporting about Aboriginal people with Aboriginal people.

Rachael Hocking: We know that bad reporting can lead to bad policy, which can adversely affect the lives of First Nations peoples in this country.

Madeline Hayman-Reber: Mainstream media would never understand because they don’t put themselves into a story as we do, because we live this stuff. We go home to our families and we have the same things happening.

Kerry O’Brien: Is there cause for cautious optimism? I think so. The young on both sides are the hope for the future. But off the backs and off the shoulders of the giants, of the Indigenous voices of the past.

Lorena Allam: Listening to the voices of Aboriginal people is work that white fellas need to do. They need to come and find us. They need to listen carefully and stop talking for long enough to understand that when you say things like “why weren’t we told?” You were told, you have been told. We’re telling you. We’ve been telling you for decades.

Amy Thomas: Black Stories Matter, a podcast where we hold five groundbreaking conversations to face the history and the legacy of settler colonialism.

Amy Thomas: These conversations are inspired by the book, ‘Does the media fail Aboriginal political aspirations?’ by myself, Amy Thomas, along with my colleagues Heidi Norman and Andrew Jakubowicz from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology, Sydney. It’s time to start a new narrative about Aboriginal people, with Aboriginal people. Because Black Stories Matter. Download and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

Podcast playlist

July 12 · 63 MIN

We know that bad reporting can lead to bad policy and this can adversely affect the lives of First Nations people.

So far in this series, we’ve heard how the Australian mainstream media has failed to connect with Aboriginal communities. But for Aboriginal journalists deeply embedded in their communities, it’s a completely different story.

In this episode, we’re looking to independent black media, to hear what Aboriginal journalists can teach us about the stories told around sovereignty and self determination and how we can support Black media.

*Please be advised this podcast contains discussions about topics some listeners may find distressing. You can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14*.

Chaired by Bhuva Narayan from the University of Technology Sydney, this discussion features Madeline Hayman-Reber a Gomeroi woman, freelance journalist and Media Advisor to Senator Lidia Thorpe, Rachael Hocking, Warlpiri woman and NITV journalist and co-host of The Point, and Associate Professor Tanja Dreher from UNSW, an expert in settler listening.

This podcast is inspired by the book ‘Does the Media Fail Aboriginal Political Aspirations: 45 years of news media reporting of key political moments’ by Amy Thomas, Heidi Norman and Andrew Jakubowicz from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at UTS.

The Black Stories Matter podcast was made with the support of Aboriginal Affairs New South Wales as part of a strategy to improve the dynamics between Aboriginal people and governments.

July 12 · 67 MIN

It was 1992, when Prime Minister Paul Keating spoke to the mostly Aboriginal crowd that had gathered in Redfern Park in inner city Sydney. 

This was the first time a Prime Minister had spoken about the dispossession, violence and prejudice carried out against First Nations people in Australia. 

It was a landmark moment in our history. And it put reconciliation firmly on the political agenda. 

But 28 years after Keating gave his speech, we still haven’t passed the test he set for this nation. 

In this episode of Black Stories Matter, we draw on our guests’ expertise in media and government to reflect on failure and hope in Aboriginal political history— and what we need to do next. 

Chaired by Andrew Jakubowicz from the University of Technology Sydney, this discussion features Robert Tickner, the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs at the time of Keating’s speech, Jason Ardler, who’s cultural ties are to the Yuin people of the NSW South Coast and he is the former head of NSW Aboriginal Affairs and Arrente and Luritja woman Catherine Liddle, the CEO of First Nations Media. 

This podcast is inspired by the book ‘Does the Media Fail Aboriginal Political Aspirations: 45 years of news media reporting of key political moments’ by Amy Thomas, Heidi Norman and Andrew Jakubowicz from the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at UTS. 

The Black Stories Matter podcast was made with the support of Aboriginal Affairs New South Wales as part of a strategy to improve the dynamics between Aboriginal people and governments. 

Black Stories Matter

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