In July of last year, I issued The Project with one simple challenge: to shut the fuck up. I did this after an all-white panel decided to debate the Aboriginal flag on TV. Not a single First Nations person appeared to give comment at all — it was truly a mess to behold. Now, everyone’s favourite show that learns nothing has decided to debate “Australia Day” without any First Nations people. So basically, challenge failed.
For some reason the Goombas over at The Project thought it would be a great idea to get Waleed Aly and two white women to offer up their insightful opinions on “Australia Day” and whether or not the date should be changed. Needless to say, the segment was a goddamn trainwreck. But like, a trainwreck on fire. In Canberra.
Kate Langbroek (who once called a Lismore protestor privileged on The Project) decided this was her chance to show how little she has educated herself on the matter of Invasion Day. There’s nothing like allowing white people to speak on issues affecting First Nations peoples when they don’t even know what they’re talking about! So glad she got this opportunity!
Her response was given to a prompt that asked if we should change the date from January 26 to something else.
“Why will that date be okay?” she asked, quizzically, like an ancient tortoise atop a mountain.
“If your issue is that Australia was colonised and invaded, changing the date of Australia Day, whatever that is, is not going to resolve that, is it?”
Love the use of language here. “If YOUR issue is that Australia was colonised” implies that this isn’t her issue at all.
It should be everyone’s issue that we’ve marked the first day of First Nations people being invaded as a day of celebration. This is a day of mourning and hurt for a large population of people in this country, why would we continue to look upon it fondly?
Sarah Harris then joined in the convo to quote an “Indigenous commentator” who wrote a really good comment, and went on to agree with it. At least Harris was giving a mature and educated response in the matter, but it still stung to see that the closest the show got to First Nations representation was in passing mention of an unnamed commentator.
First Nations people deserve better. The Project has been slowly moving itself towards being controversial as its viewership slips, but its idiotic choices can cause real damage, especially when viewers who aren’t educated on matters rely on the show to inform them.
“So disappointed at the trajectory the project has taken. This is a key example. Lost its backbone. Stand up and stand out from the other nonsense on TV,” wrote one commenter on Instagram.
“ANY other day of the year will NOT be the day that Cook and company arrived on Australian shores. This date literally marks day one of colonisation for Indigenous people, did none of you think of that?” wrote another.
“Why isn’t there an Aboriginal person on this panel discussing matters that affect them @theprojecttv??” wrote a third.
The Project, I’ll give you another shot. Please successfully complete the STFU challenge.