The backlash continues for light entertainment show Sunrise comments by a white panel on child removals, with approximately one hundred protesters arriving this morning at their Sydney studio as the show went to air.
It comes just a few days after a previous protest they controversially closed their blinds and ran old exterior footage behind the ghosts to try hide hundreds of protesters outside the studios from their audience.
It’s been a week since Sunrise and their now infamous and controversial 'Hot Topic' segment on the removal of Aboriginal children from their homes, where an all white panel unanimously agreed that Aboriginal children should be taken away from their families.
The self-proclaimed “most popular brekky show” in the country was hit with major criticism following the segment and protests.
However, today in an attempt to salvage some semblance of credibility after the absolute trainwreck of last week, Sunrise held a “special edition” of their Hot Topic’s segment to re-discuss the same issues, but this time with an all Indigenous panel.
Veteran host of the show, David ‘Kochie’ Koch introduced the almost 10 minute segment as a “complex” and “emotional issue” of child protection.
“We’re responding to calls by the Aboriginal community to look at the issue with the experts,” he said.
Koch went on to introduce Olga Havnen who is the CEO of Danila Dilba Health Services, Pat Turner the Chief Executive of NACCHO, and James Ward an Aboriginal Health Researcher.
However, Sunrise introduced the segment by incorrectly claiming the protests were in response to Aboriginal children being removed from their families, instead of admitting the protests outside their studios was in response to the lack of Indigenous voices on their show and calls from white panellists with no relevant experience for more child removals.
On Friday hundreds of protesters yelled “shame” outside the Sunrise set in Sydney.
“Every time we see Sunrise talking on Aboriginal issues, there’s always a panel of members of non- Indigenous people,” Aboriginal advocate Albert Hartnett said on Friday.
This morning’s panel went on to re-discuss the issues surrounding Aboriginal child removal and the rate of sexual transmitted diseases in Indigenous children.
Olga Havnen grew up in Tennant Creek and has Western Arrernte heritage.
She kicked off the Sunrise segment by correcting last week’s introduction by host Samantha Armytage.
“There is absolutely no prohibition or restriction on the ability of non- Aboriginal people to care for children, either as foster carers or permanent adoption,” she said.
Last week Armytage incorrectly introduced the segment by stating Indigenous children can “only be placed with relatives or other Indigenous families”.
Meanwhile outside the studios, for the sixth day in a row, protesters gathered at the Martin Place studio where they chanted “shame”.
One protester called on Sunrise to apologies, and claims Seven Network had now sectioned off an area forcing protesters to move further away from the TV background.
“There needs to be more of an understanding and less of a divide between the community and the media,” one protester told NITV News.
“[They] need to listen to our own people, not just people they appointed or non- Aboriginal people who call themselves experts; we need our own people speaking about issues that affect us.”
Inside the segment continued to discuss Aboriginal child removal before moving onto the topic of high rates of sexually transmitted diseases in Aboriginal children.
James Ward is the head of Infectious Diseases Research Program-Aboriginal Health at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute.
During the segment, he slammed the recent media reporting on the linkage between Aboriginal children having STIs and Aboriginal staying with family as “irresponsible reporting”.
“The reporting about children diagnosed with STIs under the age of 16 should be removed is probably very much irresponsible and insensitive and to link it to another Stolen Generation is outright irresponsible reporting,” he said.
All Indigneous expoerts on the panel agreed the current system is failing and called for more Indigenous inclusion in policy making when it comes to this issue.
This morning’s Hot Topic segment ended with Kochie stating including Indigenous voices may finally be on Sunrise’s agenda moving forward.
Ms Havnen agreed and subtly slammed the breakfast show.
“You’re absolutely right, what we need is intelligent, informed discussion and looking for solutions rather than the confected outrage and anger.”