An Absolute Cracker for Australian Diversity
It’s more than a decade since Sam Kekovich started warning the nation about “unAustralianism”, urging everyone to eat lamb on Australia Day.
Over subsequent years, Meat & Livestock Australia’s (MLA) “We Love our Lamb” campaign has been funny and provocative, offending and delighting people in equal measure, with 2016’s Australia Day effort, featuring SBS TV’s Lee Lin Chin, becoming one of the most complained about ads of all time.
This year, Meat and Livestock Australia has released a politically charged lamb campaign, with an ad that celebrates diversity and asks ‘Aren’t we all boat people?’ as a cast of European and Asia-Pacific settlers arrive at a beach barbecue hosted by Indigenous people.
With a cast that features Olympian Cathy Freeman, chef Poh Ling Yeow, cricketer Adam Gilchrist and rugby player Wendell Sailor, the ad doesn’t mention Australia Day, instead answering the question: ‘Hey guys, what’s the occasion?’ with ‘Do we need one?’
Some will argue it’s the best ad so far, and that's probably true given that there isn't much competition for the title – but it’s rife with cultural stereotypes, and not just of Indigenous Australians; French people eating cheese, stuffy British officers, Germans with beer, Maoris saying "bro", and Chinese people with long beards, traditional garb and a box of fireworks…
To its credit, there are a few things worth giving the nod too, most notably having Indigenous characters in the lead and moving beyond an all-white cast.
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