Veteran UK-based Australian journalist John Pilger offers an bloodboiling assessment of his homeland’s relationship with its indigenous people in this doc – comparing some of the Australian government’s worst acts, past and present, to events in apartheid South Africa. With some simple juxtapositions and head-on lines of inquiry, Pilger aims to smash the image of Australia as a laidback paradise coming to terms with its past. His implicit argument is that the relationship between white Australia and its indigenous people is as uneasy as ever, even if no one continues to call publicly for sterilisation or forced assimilation (as some shocking archive footage reminds us once happened).
Pilger hits the road, visiting often squalid communities and interviewing politicians, white Australians and aboriginal people about their opinions and experiences. He has tense conversations with defensive, sometimes fuming politicians and undermines recent official apologies by focusing on new scandals and crises – such as the unfounded, state-supported hysteria about paedophilia in indigenous communities in the late 2000s. Pilger’s reporting style is direct and unfussy: the facts speak for themselves.