A minty diversity discussion by Alex Taylor...
Have you seen the new Meat and Livestock Association advertisement yet? Chances are, if you haven’t you’re in the minority (much like diversity groups coincidentally). The ad that is not-so-secretly about good ol’ Aussie Day, has been causing quite a stir.
Now some may say that the creators of the ad are disrespectful or a few kangaroos loose in the top paddock, but you have to admit this ad is useful is stimulating public debate. And surely there’s no better time to talk about what it means to be Australian than on a day (currently) named Australia Day.
This creative content resonates with us because it shows the modern Australian culture as fun, inviting, social and inclusive. However, among the playful moments, there is a strong undertone of our three hosts inviting people from all over the world to celebrate and treasure this country we live in (“best in the world”). This open and kind social invitation (“did you organise the chips and dip”) is in stark contrast to the factual historical narrative. While this content doesn’t contribute to promoting reconciliation directly (but thank you for the tunes Haddaway), it does attempt to show how to promote building respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians, from all cultures, backgrounds and countries and in this sense is a small step forward. Perhaps we get so caught up living the great Australian dream – working tirelessly, nurturing family, building and renovating, connecting spiritually, and travelling the country/ world - that we forget the original custodians of the land and that we have the honour of living on land that is not ours.
Despite skipping over Indigenous (Australian) history lightly and very quickly, this ad carries you along and is so easy to watch because it features some of our national treasures. We’re thinking of the beach on a beautiful clear day, the excitement of firing up the BBQ, a summer music party, and our glorious obsession with sport. Adam Gilchrist, Cathy Freeman and Wendell Sailor, some of the sporting greats, make an appearance. And more quietly, cheese (thank you France) and beer (thank you Germany), two great adopted Australian loves. Through the tongue in cheek humour and yes some stereotyping (we admit) this ad demonstrates to us all that we are a truly multicultural nation and no matter where we have come from, we all share a love of good friends, good food and good times.
Now let’s talk about the flamin’ galah in the room. The ad addresses a really topical Australian debate on boat people. This national dispute has been long and furious with opposing sides bringing out the artillery to win support. Po Ling Yeow’s comment about the impending arrival of boat people juxtaposed against a backdrop of people who have literally arrived by sea really puts it back in perspective. There are many people that arrive at our shores, for many reasons. Safety and escape from persecution should be just as valid a reason for entry as a holiday or new start in the land of opportunity.
So many nods to modern Aussie culture and too many to mention really but here are our favourites: the vegan crowd, the tiniest chilly bin ever, Mardi Gras float people, ice by Antarctica, fireworks from Fyshwick, and the list goes on!
Lamb or no lamb, this diverse and entertaining ad is welcome in continuing the debate about what it means to be Australian. So embrace the (perhaps uncomfortable) conversation this January, present your opinion, listen to what others have to say and together we can work towards creating a more inclusive country for everyone.
We give this corker of a commercial a rating of 5 out of 5 boats.