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25 OCTOBER 2017
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CLOSE TO THE BONE
Aged, Education, Health & Wellbeing, History, Human Rights, Social Justice, Welfare, Youth
<span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">On June 24th 1948 the SS Ormonde docked at Railway Pier in Port Phillip Bay. Amongst its passengers were 250 British children who had arrived, without parents or family, to begin “a new and better life” in Australia. Within that number were six orphaned brothers and sisters; Jayne Harper 20, James 17, John 15, Betty 12, David 10 and Margaret 6. </span><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">Hardly had they set foot on Australian soil then the six Harpers were swept up by photographers and cameramen – to be featured in a government campaign to promote its new immigration programme aimed at Britain; in particular at the ‘young’ who it was thought would adapt more easily to a new country.</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">That moment at Railway Pier marked the beginning of our story in Australia. But it’s also the beginning of stories that are tethered to that Melbourne wharf.</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">How six orphaned Britons sent away to fend for themselves became the smiling poster children of Australia’s programme to quickly grow its population, and were guinea pigs in an experiment that was poorly planned and offered almost no support. A programme that emphasised self-reliance where many did well, others struggled and some were traumatised.</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">It’s a story of Britain’s long tradition of exporting its poor. A centuries old tradition that was given fresh life after the War when Britain adopted a new policy of closing its orphanages and sending the occupants to countries like Canada or Australia, willing to take them. With little thought to the tragedies that led to a child becoming orphaned or abandoned, this was both a solution and an opportunity for which everyone would surely be grateful.</span></p><p><span style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">Our story also reaches back over almost a hundred years, across the length of the British Isles to trace the ancestral origins of the Harper children. It reveals lives caught up in poverty, misfortune and tragedy, the all too common antecedents of most migrant journeys. Ultimately this film reveals that within the broader tapestry of Australia’s migrant story are the threads of individual lives; the personal journeys, the struggles and triumphs that inevitably bring you <i style="color: rgb(51, 51, 51); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 14px;">Close To the Bone.</i></span></p><p></p><p></p>
After the Swill
Community, Health & Wellbeing, History, Human Rights
<b>After the Swill is a social history documentary exploring one hundred years of drinking practices in Australia. Pub and bar owners, politicians, academics and pub rock musicians analyse how the tension between alcohol regulation and historical forces shape an important part of Australia's social culture and wellbeing.</b>
Community, Environment, Human Rights, Social Justice
As Australian’s we share a proud history of being a fair country, but the many laws and rights we take for granted are coming undone. Over the last decade our civil liberties have been systematically eroded by both sides of government, as they step up efforts to silence community dissent and reduce transparency to avoid scrutiny and expand government power. These changes advantage political elites and advance the interests of industry, not the people. What’s truly alarming is that we are not alone. This behaviour shares startling similarities to trends also occurring in the UK, Canada and the US, highlighting a disturbing global trend. But the people will not be silenced! The insatiable demand of people for a fair society simmers under the surface, leading courageous people into conflict with governments and those who influence them from the shadows.Hundreds of doctors banded together, refusing to be threatened by a two year jail sentence if they reported behaviour like child abuse in Australia’s controversial detention centres and took their fight against the government to the High Court. Remarkably, they won! Leaders in the environment movement are mobilising behind closed doors in response to the governments attacks against them and the parliamentary inquiry recommendations that threatens their very existence. Journalists and unions fight to protect whiste-blowers and the integrity of the media in a battle against intimidation and the new national security law changes described as the “greatest assault on press freedoms during peacetime.”Uncivil Society will tell the independent stories of several courageous people directly impacted by this attack on civil society and who have had no other choice by to fight back. Through these stories the film will explore reasons why the government would want to remove our rights, how the erosion of our rights impacts the everyday Australian, and what could happen to our rights and our lives if this trajectory continues.These stories (and more that focus on winding back laws and the undermining of our justice system and the oppressive anti-striking laws) are woven together by interviewee Emily Howie of the Human Rights Legal Centre who offers solutions that will empower the audience to increase their engagement with the political system through the civil sector and help safeguard our democracy.