First Contact shines a light on the deep divide between Indigenous Australians and the rest of the nation by taking six non-Indigenous people and immersing them into Aboriginal Australia for the first time.
By
Brooke Boney

Source:
World News Australia
18 Nov 2014 - 3:00 PM  UPDATED 19 Nov 2014 - 12:38 PM

(Transcript from SBS World News Radio)

Indigenous Australians are the most disadvantaged of any group in Australia and often among the most misunderstood.

Feeding the myths that surround Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is the fact nearly six out of 10 Australians have had little or no contact with Indigenous people.

Brooke Boney reports.

(Click on the audio tab above to hear the full report)

The last group to be recognised in a Commonwealth constitution, the highest rate of suicide in the world, the lowest life expectancy of any group in the country.

These are some of the less known facts about Indigenous Australians. 

Now, veteran journalist Ray Martin has taken six non-Indigenous Australians around the country to confront their views of what life is like for the First Australians.

These were some of their expectations before their trip.

 "Petrol-sniffing and drug-taking." ... "They've got plasma TVs but no food." ... "I'm Australian. I was born here, just like they were." ... "We give them houses, they burn them down." ... "Aboriginal people are definitely more disadvantaged." ... "They get so much more than us." ... "Everything costs more for me, but why is it less for them?" ... "A lot of freeloading." ... "Having this free ride, and I'm working my arse off." ... "Classing themselves as Aboriginal to get more welfare." ... "I've had very little to do with Indigenous people." ... "When it comes to brains, unfortunately ... " ... "Aboriginal people keep using the past. Move on." ... "You think it's racist? Well, I don't f*cking care."

One creator of the show that resulted, Darren Dale, says he was inspired by statistics showing six of 10 Australians had no contact with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.

"It all came from the starting point of the Reconciliation Australia (finding of) six out of 10 -- six out of 10 Australians have had little or no contact with Aboriginal people. So I think what we're hoping to achieve is starting a new discussion. I think that discussion is as much for Aboriginal people to be involved in and have a different discussion as well."

Ray Martin, as host of the program, says the controversial views are exactly why he wanted to be involved.

He says he considers them far too common and the six people he went on the month-long journey with offered a real reflection of what Australians think.

"They are very Aussie. They are very ordinary, like all of us, in a sense. And they don't pretend to know, but they're ready to learn. And they're very charitable, I think, finally, in what they saw. And they met some very powerful women especially, but they met some very powerful people, who changed their minds. So every one of them, at one stage, broke down."

This 3 part series begins tonight, and continues Wednesday 19 and Thursday 20 November.