Australia Day is a day of mourning - indigenous TV producer

A controversial Australian meat ad has sparked an important debate about race relations, says an indigenous television producer.

The campaign went viral last week and features a group of aborigines setting up for a barbeque on a deserted beach, only to be joined by successive groups of different ethnicities. It hams up the country's multicultural society while firmly reminding who the nation's indigenous people are. 

Nancia Guivarra, a Senior Producer at Australia’s National Indigenous Television says the ad, which was released before the national holiday Australia Day on January 26, is a timely reminder of the important issues surrounding the country’s indigenous rights.  

She says many indigenous communities do not call the national day Australia Day, which marks the day in 1788 which saw the first arrival of British ships to New South Wales.  Instead, they refer to it as Survival Day, Invasion Day and even Mourning Day because of the loss they suffered.

“It's portrayed by the nation as the celebration of the arrival of the first fleet, but many indigenous Australians do not necessarily see it in the same way. Their arrival meant the beginning of the colonisation of Australia.”

She says the ad is funny and she applauds its makers, saying how clever they are to market their lamb products and at the same time forcing Australians to discuss topical racial issues. 

“It’s purpose is to take an occasion, which is known as the biggest BBQ in Australia and sell it to the nation. It’s a day that has significance for so many different Australians, in particular, indigenous Australians.  We see it as the day our life in this country changed dramatically."