Meat company accused of racism over Australia Day ad

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An advertisement from Meat & Livestock Australia has sparked controversy for failing to portray Australia’s First people.

An Australia Day advertisement from Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) has caused controversy for its failure to include any Indigenous Australians.

The advertisement shows former Australian cricketer Richie Benaud trying to organise an Australia Day barbecue at his house.

Benaud puts in calls to Captain "Cookie" Cook, Ned Kelly and Ita Buttrose, among others.

Missing from his guest list, however, were any Indigenous Australians or people from other ethnic-minority groups.

Social commentator Celeste Liddle told NITV News the advertisement highlighted problems she saw with Australia Day.

"To be honest it accurately reflects Australia day and all that's completely wrong with it," she said.

"By that I mean we’ve got a bunch of white men who are completely ignoring the fact that there is history in this country that pertains to Aboriginal people and our experiences."

In a statement to NITV news, MLA defended the ad.

"This chapter of the Australia Day lamb campaign was created with the idea that it would celebrate Australia and capture the spirit of our national day," the statement read.

"The bringing together of a group of Australian legends allowed us to honour some of the people who have defined Australia, in the most Aussie way possible – by sharing a lamb barbecue together."

"Meat & Livestock Australia approached numerous people from a variety of cultural backgrounds to be involved in the Australia Day lamb campaign however on this occasion some politely declined or were unavailable.

"This Australia Day lamb campaign is not intended to offend; rather it is a humorous celebration of some of the legendary figures who have made Australia great."

Since its release, the ad has been met with mixed reviews on social media.

Some have criticisised its omission of any non-white faces:

"How many ways can you say EMBARRASSED. Mortified. Angry. How many times can you feel you need to apologiSe in a lifetime. As a white skinned Australian I hate it. It's insulting to so many people on so many levels," one person wrote on NITV’s Facebook page.

"This add is wrong on so many levels," wrote another.

While others have praised the ad as entertaining:

What do you think of the ad? Tweet @NITVNews, @dannynitv or @SBSNews to have your say.

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