Dialog Box

Education | Human Rights | Indigenous | Social Justice
Will Australia Ever Have A Black Prime Minister?
Modern Australia prides itself on being a diverse, multicultural nation. And rightly so: in the last fifty years, this country has evolved from one where race defined it, to one where the colour of a person’s skin is irrelevant.

But how true is this?

Is Australia really the land of the ‘Fair Go’ or one that still favours the fair-skinned? We’re going to test this by asking a very simple question:

Will Australia Ever Have a Black Prime Minister?

The path to becoming a Prime Minister in Australia is a difficult one, forged through a series of educational, political, and social sliding doors – many much easier to open than others. But what are the odds of an Indigenous Australian realising the top job in Canberra, and how do Australia’s institutions help or hinder that journey?

Starting with the arrival of a hypothetical newborn Indigenous child, this presenter-led documentary examines the statistics of each crucial life stage for this child as they grow, the social, educational and economic barriers standing in the way of this country ever having an Indigenous Prime Minister, and the challenges that we must overcome as a nation to ensure the dream of being Prime Minister is one that all can aspire to reach.

Mark Coles Smith is our guide on this fascinating investigation and he will travel through around Australia in his quest to answer the film’s proposition. Mark has no particular political axe to grind or specialist knowledge about the subject but as a young Indigenous man, the subject is close to his heart. This is a genuine journey for Mark and he will be reacting to information and situations as they unfold. To give Mark and our audience more insight into the question, we’ll feature an academic expert, Professor Yin Paradies, who will compare the lives of black and white Australians today and give us an objective statistical take on the question we’re posing.

Confronting, fascinating and provocative, Will Australia Ever Have a Black Prime Minister? is agenda-setting TV with the ability to provoke national discussion.

How does the project meet the aims of a philanthropic foundation?

Philanthropic foundations are all about making things better and that is why we are making this film. We want to make things better for Indigenous Australians and in turn better for our country as a whole. We want to educate Australians about the challenges that we face as a nation to ensure the dream of being Prime Minister is one that all can aspire to reach.

By starting a national conversation about the social, educational and economic hurdles faced by Indigenous Australians we hope to raise awareness, create empathy and inspire action about Indigenous disadvantage. By educating viewers about the ongoing negative impact of colonialism and Anglo privilege on Indigenous Australians we can inspire people to do what they can to increase opportunities for Indigenous Australians. If we all do more on an individual level we can bring about positive social, cultural, environmental and community change that will benefit individuals, communities and the nation.
Aims & Objectives

What outcomes do you hope to achieve by making this film and how will you measure its impact?

We hope this film sparks a national conversation about Indigenous disadvantage and leads to more doors opening for Indigenous Australians. As a result of educating and informing, we aim to change mindsets, behaviours and structures so that, in time, there will truly be a pathway for all Australians to occupy the most powerful political position in the land, for the benefit of us all.

We will market the film as follows and measure the impact of the film in a number of ways:

1. Ratings - Once the election date is announced the ABC will give the film a time slot. We expect this to be in prime time and to reach an audience of at least 500,000 viewers.
2. Media coverage - Together with the ABC we will prepare press kits for the film, collate media coverage of the film and calculate the value of the advertising equivalent. 100 media articles with an advertising equivalent of $1M would be an excellent result. We will also track social media exposure such as Twitter.
3. Awards - We will raise the profile and reach of the film by entering awards such as the Realscreen Diversity and Inclusion Award. Our Is Australia Racist? documentary was the inaugural winner of this award.
4. ATOM - We expect the film to be widely used in schools as an educational tool and we will measure the impact through Screenrights reports.
5. Training - We expect the film to be used as a training tool for businesses around Australia and will work with interested organisations to maximise and measure the impact.
6. Impact assessment - Professor Yin Paradies, our on screen expert from Deakin University will be available (subject to funding) to conduct impact assessment surveys. The University of Western Sydney did this in relation to our documentary Is Australia Racist? and the results about how the film has shifted perceptions and opinions about race have been remarkable.

What is your education and outreach strategy?

Our education strategy is to engage ATOM to create a study guide and promote the documentary through ATOM's educational channels. This worked well with our recent project A Stargazers Guide to the Galaxy which won ATOM's best factual television series. We are also approaching philanthropic and other community organisations to ask them to promote the film through their networks.

In addition to the marketing plans outlined above from 1-5 above we would love to measure the impact of the film by engaging Professor Yin Paradies to conduct detailed research about the responses to the film and how it influenced people’s thinking. The research conducted after Is Australia Racist? has been very useful and informative in relation to how clips from the film positively influenced people’s attitudes on racism. This research can then help promote and shape the next stage of our outreach program. We would be happy to discuss the finer details of the research plan with potential funders. From our professional background and contacts, previous films including the Seasons series of Indigenous films for the ABC, and our work on this film, we have a number of connections that can help; and want to join with Indigenous groups and philanthropic organisations to maximise the leverage from the research.
Catriona McKenzie
Jacqueline Willinge and Danielle Maclean
Total budget
52 Minutes