Until 24 March, the documentary The Australian Dream is available to stream on ABC iview. Between now and then, I urge you to set aside the hour and three quarters necessary to watch it.
The Australian Dream tells the story of Adam Goodes, an extraordinary Australian Rules football player, proud Aboriginal man, passionate anti-racism advocate and former Australian of the Year. A man who, despite his immense grace and tolerance, was effectively booed, harangued, abused and belittled off the football field and into retirement.
The way Goodes was treated was appalling and took an immense toll on his mental health. This is how he described how he felt at the height of the public backlash against him:
“When you’re in a dark place, it’s like you’ve completely forgotten everything anybody’s ever said to you that was good, or you think of all the bad things that have ever happened you, or you think about all the bad things people have said to you. And it’s on a stereo playing the loudest possible decibels in your head, echoing in your mind, you’re worth nothing, they don’t even care about you, go away.”
This is not an easy documentary to watch. It is the story of Australia’s racism and its deep connection to the very foundations of our country as we know it. Expertly told by the extremely talented journalist and writer Stan Grant, this documentary is poetry in motion. Add to that a suite of diverse interviewees whose perspectives shed light on the issue – retired Aboriginal football players Gilbert McAdam and Michael O’Loughlin, Collingwood Football Club President Eddie Maguire, sports journalist Tracy Holmes, conservative commentator Andrew Bolt (his reflections did not improve my opinion of him) and Nova Peris, Australia’s first female Aboriginal federal parliamentarian.
Every Australian should watch this documentary. And it’s not just me saying that. Someone with more political clout than me, ABC journalist and 7.30 anchor Leigh Sales, said the same thing. So please, please watch it. I guarantee you will be moved by it.
Love, hope and peace from Emma.