• The invitation for the 2016 Australian Liquor Industry Awards advertising dress in an Australian theme. (Australia Liqour Industry Awards)Source: Australia Liqour Industry Awards
After the recent controversy surrounding Australia themed parties and their associated costumes, you might have thought that we had learned from our mistakes. Apparently not…
By
NITV Staff Writers

13 Oct 2016 - 5:53 PM  UPDATED 13 Oct 2016 - 6:11 PM

The 2016 Australian Liquor Industry Awards (ALIA) were presented last night at Randwick Racecourse with an Austr-ALIA theme… geddit?

Of course when designing the invitation to an Australian themed party, some elements are a must (apparently) ...

Red dirt? Check.

Uluru? Check.

Generic Aboriginal man with a didgeridoo and a clapstick? Check.

To use this imagery in an invitation for a dress up party at an event celebrating alcohol was almost asking for appearance of blackface. It's another example of cultural insensitivity and stereotyping of Indigenous Australians. 

It’s one thing to include Aboriginal representation in marketing material in order to promote diversity, but there’s something about a cartoon of a random blackfella posed in a way that feels very characterised, that doesn’t seem very inclusive. If this was an attempt to celebrate Aboriginality, it failed. 

How many desks did such a bad idea pass over before approval was granted to use a generic clip-art of an Aboriginal man in the Northern Territory as a mascot for alcohol awards? On all promotional material; the invitation, the guest passes and splashed across social media.

The guidelines around the use of commercial images of the sites in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park - in order to respect the living culture of its traditional Aboriginal owners, the Anangu people - have also clearly been shrugged off. 

Along with the ALIA's the advertising material, the image of iconic Uluru was used as a stage backdrop at the event where seats were sold for $250 each.

A permit needs to be obtained for the use of images of Uluru for commercial purposes and no permits are issued for advertising and promotion of various products including cars, fashion, food or drink.

In fact, one of the guidelines specifically refers to the placing of generic images of Aboriginal people with Uluru.

‘Images must not be digitally manipulated to insert extraneous objects to conceal a sensitive site. For example, cutting and pasting an Aboriginal person not from here.’

A spokesperson from Parks Australia who published the guidelines commented,

“Parks Australia was not consulted about the use of images relating to Uluru and its traditional owners for the Australian Liquor Industry Awards and had no knowledge about their intended use. Parks Australia strongly disapproves of the use of these images in this way.”

“Parks Australia was not consulted about the use of images relating to Uluru and its traditional owners for the Australian Liquor Industry Awards and had no knowledge about their intended use. Parks Australia strongly disapproves of the use of these images in this way.”

“The use of these images do not conform to our guidelines and Parks Australia will be contacting the organisers of the Australia Liquor Industry Awards to express our disapproval.”

The use of the images - Aboriginal man, Uluru, the Northern Territory backdrop - seems even more inappropriate given the event was celebrating the production and consumption of alcohol. Many Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory are 'dry', meaning alcohol cannot be brought in or consumed in the community, including the Mutujulu community which is home to many of the custodians of Uluru - something you'd think that the Australian Liquor Industry would be aware of. 

The organisers of the Australian Liquor Industry Awards were approached for comment by NITV, however had not responded by the time of publication. 

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