Tom Ballard and First Contact. SBS TV over three nights.

First Contact returns
28 Days. Six well-known Aussies. One epic journey into Aboriginal Australia

First Contact season 2 airs on both NITV and SBS at 8:30pm over three big nights – Tuesday 29 November, Wednesday 30 November and Thursday 1 December.

I watched the first episode……. a roller coaster of reaction and emotion. With the exception of one of the white Australian men, the other first contact participants are experiencing real challenges and facing their own reactions with dignity and courage.

The first contact ( Kimberly region) was in a overnight refuge for indigenous people, picked up in parks and the streets. In the hostel, run by indigenous staff, who prepared a nutritious soup and provided a clean bed. It was here the first contactors faced a reality they had never imagined. Women, who had lost children via suicide, family members who had died violently or through booze, now found working in this environment helped them live with their grief. And the broken people from the parks and streets those same staff members cared for overnight.

And in a later forum on NITV, Thomas Kennelly saying most Australians see cows, sheep and mining as the makeup of the Australian outback. I would also add poisoned mono agriculture of vast areas on these ancient and fragile soils. Overwhelmingly too he said, how sad he felt at what he saw on the programme in 2016. Real contact with country passes over most of us as irrelevant in this modern and often ugly era.

It brought back vivid memories for me when I worked in a overnight hostel for similar street people in Newtown in Sydney, during the early 1980s. Most of the men brought in were white Australians and after they were showered and deloused, were put to bed, usually all asleep by 8pm. They would sleep until 1 or 2 am. It was then many would come and talk to me, sober and articulate, and tell me of the circumstances of their lives. Some were widowers, country men who had left their lives behind after loss, others were gay and had never had the chance to accept themselves let alone be accepted by society at large. More though were simply broken by life’s circumstances and found their ability to cope or adapt was drowned by the cheap poisonous booze readily available. It was in those early hours I left behind any earlier feelings I had on judgement and derision towards these men. By the grace of life go I. And one of the demands my employer (CITY MISSION) was to persuade these men to get jobs.

The video in this article is worth watching and consider sending it to One nation senators and others, who are supposed to represent us and who still maintain the Reef is in pristine condition.

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