Living in Australia these days, you could be forgiven for thinking everything’s gone to the dogs.
There seems to be a pervasive sense that we are not as safe as we once were, back in an idyllic past when the “Great Australian Dream” was a quarter acre block, you could play cricket in the street and all the neighbours would look out for each other’s kids.
Nowadays, the neighbours could be predators, or, worse still, TERRORISTS!
Populist politics and an increasingly desperate, intrusive media fan the flames of our fear by framing complex issues of race, religion, identity – even love – in simplistic, “black and white” terms, to be digested as slogans, sound bites and tweets by an audience increasingly conditioned to consume more and question less.
Divisions abound, between left and right; “traditional” Australian culture vs. the “scourge” of multiculturalism; along morphing gender lines.
Sure, we have issues, some major, but is the fear and divisiveness representative of the reality of Australian life for most of us?
Or, could it be that, rather than living in fear, we might just be able to celebrate that, for the most part, the great experiment of inclusiveness – of race, religion, gender and sexuality – in Australia is, in fact, an imperfect, outrageous success?
“COMMON GROUND” is a digital short-form documentary series that will explore these questions.
Our first “mini-doco” shows how a community sports club in Sydney’s Inner West provides a focal point for an evolving, increasingly diverse community.
See it here –
But to continue, we need your help…
If you know of anyone who has a great story to tell about living in harmony, overcoming barriers or changing perceptions, we’d love to hear about them.
It could be that art, sport, music, food, fashion, basket-weaving or sheer necessity has been the catalyst for acceptance.
Maybe it’s inter-generational change, where the youngsters can teach their parents a thing or two about peaceful co-existence, that has led to understanding.
Or perhaps our inherent egalitarianism and tolerance of difference just shines through.
Yes, there are stories about the failings in our society, but we feel the mass media gives them plenty of coverage, so we’re not looking for those.
Rather, we’re hoping to re-dress the balance a little, and show that there is plenty to be pretty bloody happy about and grateful for in living in this great land.
If you have any suggestions for story subjects, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrew Marsh is the principal of Marshlandia.