A group of protesters has gathered outside Channel Seven's Sydney studio this morning where the show Sunrise is broadcast live to protest comments made by an all-white panel on the breakfast show earlier this week.
Particular offence was taken by many after one panellist with no experience in child welfare or Indigenous affairs claimed the First Stolen generations were justified because children were being abused by Indigenous parents and that we needed a second one.
A group of protesters yelled out shame and booed the studio through the large glass windows that expose the Sunrise set to the surrounding foot traffic of Martin Place in the Sydney CBD.
Speakers, who included members of the Stolen Generations, shared stories and others shouted "Leave the kids alone" or held up signs saying "Hands off our children".
It was unclear how many people attended but early videos posted on social media showed up to a hundred people surrounding the studio.
Sunrise appeared to run images of previously shot video of Martin Place behind their presenters today and closed the studio's soundproof blinds in an attempt to hide the fact the protest was happening.
In a statement provided to NITV News a Seven Spokesperson said the reason the blinds were drawn was that some of the protesters were holding offensive signs.
“We respect the right to protest as much as we respect the right of free speech," the statement read.
“Some of the group were holding offensive signage, and some began banging on the window and mouthing obscenities.
“To ensure regulatory compliance, and bearing in mind the potential for young children to be watching, the decision was made to utilise a generic backdrop.”
On Tuesday this week, comments supposedly made by the Assistant Minister for Children and Families, David Gillespie, ignited a media storm and caused outrage from the Indigenous community.
During the breakfast show's daily segment called ‘Hot Topic’ the program’s host, Samantha Armytage introduced that morning’s two social commentators Prue MacSween and Ben Davis, who both are non-Indigenous. The segment was later deleted from social media by Seven.
Ms Armytage introduced the segment with an inaccurate and misleading statement: "A federal government minister has suggested white families be allowed to adopt abused Aboriginal children to save them from rape, assault and neglect," she said.
"Currently, they can only be placed with relatives or other Indigenous families, but Children’s Minister, David Gillespie, says relaxing the rules is a better alternative to creating an abandoned or damaged generation."
However, the "Aboriginal child placement principle", written into law in every state and territory, is a guideline designed to enhance and preserve Aboriginal children’s connection to family, community and retain their sense of identity and culture. However, only about 35 per cent of Indigenous children in out-of-home care are currently placed with Indigenous relatives.
She said Australia shouldn’t be scared by political correctness and it’s better to remove them from a “dangerous situation”.
“Just like the first Stolen Generation where a lot of children were taken because it was for their well-being, we need to do it again,” she said.
During the discussion, Sam asked both commentators “should white families be allowed to adopt at-risk Aboriginal children?”
Prue began the discussion by saying it was a “no-brainer” for Aboriginal children to be removed.
Prue MacSween is a former journalist who worked as an editor at TV Week and claims she’s a commentator who “never shies away from saying what others are too scared to say”. Ben Davis is a former Channel 7 sports presenter and is currently the host of Brisbane 4BC’s radio drive show.
She has previously called for ex-ABC host Yassmin Abdel-Magied to be run over.
Many Indigenous Australians remember the Stolen Generations as a traumatic time and a dark chapter in Australian history.
Between 1905 and 1969, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were forcibly removed from their parents in an act many Indigenous people view as the government trying to “whitewash” them.
Seven’s former employee, Ben Davis also agreed with Prue and applauded the comments made by David Gillespie.
“Good on David Gillespie for standing up and saying what a lot of politicians are afraid to say because of the fear of being labelled ‘racist’. I mean, it’s political correct nonsense, it’s gotta go,” he said.
He also said he values the comments made by Warren Mundine.
“We need to be protecting kids, we need to be protecting Aboriginal kids, and putting them back into that culture. What culture are they growing up and seeing? Well, they’re getting abused, they’re getting hurt, and they’re getting damaged,” Davis continued.
Social media has been in overdrive with many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users outraged over Sunrise’s lack of Indigenous voice.
Calls to Sunrise's publicist were unanswered.