In a prior set of Estimates I asked SBS what kind of message does “Always was, Always will be” send to non-Aboriginal people.
Senator RENNICK: I have a question regarding the slogan that SBS and NITV use that says “Always was, always will be”. Do you think that sends an inclusive message to non-Indigenous Australians that the land they are on isn’t theirs?
Mr Taylor : Sorry, Senator, the question is: does the slogan “Always was, always will be” seek to exclude non-Indigenous Australians?
Senator RENNICK: Well, it may not seek to exclude, but the message that it sends is that it is excluding non-Indigenous Australians. Ultimately, people shouldn’t be judged on where they are from or what their ancestry is. This land belongs to all of us. Why is the SBS running a slogan that, to me, seems counterintuitive to inclusivity?
Mr Taylor : Well, I don’t think it is intended to be counter to inclusion, and nor do I believe it is counter to inclusion. We are proud to have NITV, the National Indigenous Television Service, part of the SBS family. It has been part of the SBS family for nine years now, I believe. It is a channel made by and for Indigenous Australians. It is a showcase of Indigenous production capacity and Indigenous storytelling creativity.
Senator RENNICK: That’s fine. I’ve got no problems with the channel. I have a problem with the slogan that, to me, is sending a message that somehow the land doesn’t belong to all Australians. That, to me, is what is the message is saying.
Mr Taylor : If that’s the case, I think it is intended to send the message that Indigenous Australians are the longest continuous culture on the planet and are the first custodians of this land on which we all live. I think it is important for—
Senator RENNICK: That’s fine, but that’s backwards going forwards.
CHAIR: Senator Rennick, please don’t talk over the witness.
Mr Taylor : Therefore, I think it is entirely appropriate for NITV to be proud about their slogan, which is “Always was, always will be Aboriginal land”. I think that is a very important statement of their role, their presence and their relevance in the Australian media landscape and the importance of acknowledging First Nations people.
Senator RENNICK: I disagree. To say that it always will be is just not sending out a very welcoming message to immigrants or non-Indigenous Australians who are born here. To me, it seems as though you are excluding them rather than including them. That is a statement. I will leave it at that.