Screen Australia & ABC – Diversity & Inclusion is a Racist & Sexist ideology.

‘It’s time {again} to hear our own voices, see out own landscapes and dream our own dreams’
Philip Adams quote to PM John Gorton in the late 1960’s. It marked the start of film industry funding in Australia.

I was lucky enough recently to ride a motorcycle around Australia. It gave me a great insight into the state of the Nation. One fascinating insight I gained was the realisation that in the outback, on remote stations, women were as equally represented as men in the workplace. I found this fascinating because if one was to listen to our public broadcasters, gender inequality is an issue that is given huge importance. In the outback, it didn’t seem to matter, as long as you could do the job!

I also saw how changes in the workplace effected whole regions, particularly South Australia, where the decline in blue collar work had a detrimental effect on whole communities.

Men have been hardest hit in these changes, with their recent labour force participation rate decreasing 0.5 percentage points. The transition from resource-intensive to a more broad-based economic growth has favoured women, with their participation rates recently increasing 0.6 percentage points.

This change in society is one of the factors that has lead to a silent epidemic in the bush, male suicide. Every day six men take their lives Suicide claims almost three times more lives than road accidents, and over 30 times more lives than domestic violence.

‘Who sees the variety and not the unity must wander on from death to death.’
Katha Upanishad

Earlier this year I attended a keynote address at the Australian International Documentary Conference. Ex Lawyer and Muslim Activist, Mariam Veiszadeh informed the crowd that film funding needed to be more representative of the diversity of Australian society. This idea didn’t sit well with me. I didn’t think focusing on people’s differences would lead to better understanding between the different groups in our society. And the idea of setting quotas based on race and sex seems like absolute madness to me. How can one combat racism and sexism by being racist and sexist?

Years ago I did a documentary for the ABC on newly arrived African refugees in Tasmania. From this experience, I became good friends with a woman from Sierra Leone. Flo and I shared the same wicked sense of humor and love of good food. I once invited her back to the small country town I was born in to meet my parents. I knew it could be a little difficult for her, she would have been the only black person for 100 kms. I don’t think my dad had ever known a black person before and he was prone to making stupid racist jokes out of pure ignorance. I think when dad realised that Flo had the same sense of humor as him, those similarities lead to acceptance and understanding. And this coloured my opinion on racism. It is through concentrating on our similarities, that we can accept our differences.

Seven million out of twenty four million Aussies were born overseas. This equates to 30% of the population.. The proportion in the US is 13%, in the UK 12%, in Germany 8%. In Sydney 42% of the population was born overseas. This compares with 29% for NYC, 36% for London, 22% for Paris. We are by definition one of the world’s most generous, most successful, immigrant nations. So generous in fact that $15 billion of our yearly welfare payments go to non-citizens.

My concern with the ideology of ‘diversity and inclusion’ is that it actually leads to sexist and racist government policy. Take for example Screen Australia’s recent ‘Gender matters‘ funding stream. As a male, I could only apply for this funding if I identified myself as a woman.

Screen Australia justify this funding by listing historical data dating back to the 1970’s, showing a lower participation rate of women across screen industry jobs. I would say given the huge changes in female participation in the workforce since the 1970’s, most industries would show this difference. If one was to look at recent data, for example the attendee numbers at the 2017 AIDC (Australian International Documentary Conference) women made up 52% of speakers, 61% of funding decision makers and 56% of all delegates. As of 30 June 2016 workplace gender statistics at Screen Australia are 77.23% female and only 22.27% male. In fact staff gender diversity across all of Australia’s Film Agencies average 73% favouring women – SAFC – 73% female staff, Screen NSW – 80% female staff, Film Victoria – 67% female staff, Screen West – 75% female staff, Screen Territory – 50% female staff.

The tenets of diversity and inclusion include such divisive terms as ‘male privilege’ and ‘cultural appropriation‘. Michelle Guthrie, Managing Director of the ABC, stated one of her chief goals was to make the ABC more reflective of it’s multicultural community. This is a great objective, but should this mean giving substantial funding to a qualified engineer like Yassmin Abdel-Magied, just because she is a Muslim Woman of Colour? Shouldn’t this funding be allocated to the most qualified, regardless of their sex and colour, and possibly someone experienced in the field of journalism/ media? But at least Yassmin is an Australian citizen, unlike Ronny Chieng, who was recently given his own comedy series on the ABC, despite only being in Australia as a temporary student from Malaysia. But don’t worry, there were some Australian’s featured in one episode of the series, stereotyped as stupid violent drunks! Seems cultural cringe is still alive and well.

I’ve been involved in filmmaking since the mid 1990’s. My ‘male privilege’ in all that time has been to receive funding only three times from the ABC, and never once from SBS.
On all occasions my ABC funding was for a great initiative called the Regional Production Fund, which has since been replaced with a new program called ABC Open, where regional people are now expected to produce content for free.

I’ve produced 16 independent productions around the world. Through the meritocracy of youtube for example, I have been lucky enough to have funded my travel video production for nearly two years, getting to film in such diverse locations as Cuba and North Korea.

One area where quota’s would make sense is with regard to our public broadcasters. At the moment the ABC and SBS are not required to broadcast local programming. Commercial stations on the other hand must show 55% Australian content. I’d love to see elderly Australian’s gallivanting around the world instead of the likes of Rick Stein and Joanna Lumley on the ABC! And I’d love to see obese, culturally ignorant, tattooed Australian men showing me the world, instead of seeing their American counterparts doing this on the SBS funded Viceland!

So if you are involved in the film industry, I’d love to hear your comments below, whether you agree or disagree. I’ve spent a lot of time researching the growth of this diversity and inclusion ideology both in Australia and Canada and clarifying in my own mind why I oppose it so vehemently. If you would like to look at the parallel experience in Canada I suggest watching the youtube videos of Psychology Professor Jordan Peterson.

Combatting sexism or racism with sexist or racist policy seems like madness to me and personally I’m afraid of where this will lead. Already there are documented cases of segregation due to race and religion. Have we learn’t nothing from history? Post your thoughts below.

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17 thoughts on “Screen Australia & ABC – Diversity & Inclusion is a Racist & Sexist ideology.

  1. Interesting comments and relevant I believe. Internationally it appears that the space which is set aside to “correct past wrongs” does, by and large, not improve matters but rather bring about the same albeit diametrically opposed set of issues and/or problems, often accompanied with the effective silencing of voices opposed to the new norms and views., a state of affairs more akin to the pendulum swinging one way or the other than to actually bringing about a more balanced and honest set of circumstances. C’est la vie it seems and a long way from the first wee videos I saw you post on your El Camino trip a few years back.

  2. A lot of changes since the Camino. Thanks for following the journey Paul

  3. I have been following you for many years.
    As a film maker, developer and avid adventure rider, I have very much enjoyed watching your passion and relentless drive shape you and your craft into what you are now emerging as.
    Congratulations on a great article and remember, truth seekers and truth tellers have the scars to prove it.
    I am in solidarity with you on this issue and the change is now, this is certain due to the fact it is being cheered by many many women.
    The days of being racist to combat racism and treating a person or group differently to stop them from being treated differently is a madness I will be happy to see fade away.

  4. Thanks Tucker.

  5. Veery passionate post Mark. Firstly, it is one’s own choice to commit suicide (you point out males in the bush committing suicide in increasing numbers) so you can’t bring that into the argument in regards to the increasing number of women joining the work force, but you are clearly trying to position that as a reason why they are killing themselves. And the ”changes in the workplace” in the ”blue collar” area are mostly brought about by globalist policies resulting in those blue collar jobs going overseas (as a humanitarian and non-nationalist who has seen 3rd world impovershiment and suffering I am all for these global changes as still no-one is starving in Oz but millions have gotten out of poverty in the Asian countries)..
    I went to that Gender Matters site, as I know that there are always 2 sides to a story, at least. Their statistics clearly show women are much less represented in the film industry than males and always have been and they say they are trying to even things up. Putting myself in a women’s shoes i would say thats fair enough to even things up. If anyone is reading this i suggest you go to that site for 2 sides to a story. Cheers..

  6. I respect your opinion Jeff, but don’t agree with it on this occasion. Where does it end, concentrating on our differences?

  7. Also, why get government funding rather than creating your own funds. Government funding is really the dole for artists in this context. You have a 35,000 sub list on your YT channel and there are tons of ways you can make money through utilizing that base. I have only 3000 subs on my 6 month old yt channel but with adsense combined with one affiliate link i am making over 400 bucks a month after only 2 months of monetizing the channel and 2 months of putting one affiliate link up. I am about to put a couple of more even more profitable links up plus will be linking back to my website when i put my new book up which they can purchase..
    You may not like to hear this truth but you have gone into a bitter and twisted entitlement victim mentality and you really need to get off your ass rather than bitching and moaning like an old woman on a piss pot and blaming others for your woes.But that’s your choice Mark. Cheers.
    .p.s.Your attitude is surprising based on all the brave and causative things you have done and you are just going to lose support of causative people, not withstanding your female audience (if you have one left)

  8. Jeff, why should I pay taxes to support racist and sexist funding streams?

    Look at the support I have got from funding bodies over near 20 years – three times, it’s nothing. I have done it my way, but when I see policy put in to place that creates division in society, I see it as very important to fight against that.

  9. No, always stand up and fight for your principles and make known of what one conceives as an injustice, but you have ALWAYS paid taxes to white aussie rascist and male privilege funding streams, LOL. It’s not so pleasant that it’s now turning the other way, I guess.
    Times change and you go with the flow (but still speak up if necessary) and in my humble opinion CONCENTRATE ON THE POSITIVE AND WHAT YOU CAN DO TO CHANGE THINGS FOR YOUR BETTERMENT.
    Once you get into blame game victimhood thing you are giving your power away and being an effect of life rather than captain of your own ship steering your own course. To hell with other determined ”support”, support yourself,you can.
    You are only losing support of your causative and self determined subs and I doubt if there would hardly be any female subscribers left who are supporting you now. Get back on the horse Mark and forget the hardness of the saddle.Cheers.

  10. Yes, my post probably won’t get much support from women, but this gender matters funding was just an example of what the diversity and inclusion ideology leads to, more sexism and racism. If you are interested in learning about Canada’s experience, can I recommend viewing Jordan Peterson’s videos. He cuts through the issue like a knife.

  11. Just an FYI
    I have shared your post with several people and the females overwhelmingly see the destructive and dishonest acts as they are.
    For what ever reason males have been brainwashed from such a young age they with almost reflex like response, want to “white knight” the female. Even if its just a female issue.
    The mine numbing part is this “white knighting” is the very act of misogyny hurting society today. It is an example of holding women down.
    A person will never benefit from being told a lie, living a lie or believing in a lie.
    My experience is lengthy in this issue and I can at great length if anyone would like, detail the difference the horrendous outcome “white knighting” leads to.
    Saying and even statistically showing a group as “underrepresented” in a given area is a BS lead-in argument.
    You must address the CORE problem associated with the symptom or it is not a solvable problem.
    You could insert a religion, color, or even a sub 70’s IQ in place of the word women as it relates to the film industry.
    If your argument as to why any one of the above words being disproportionately represented is lack of resources, you are in need of a good intellectual discussion. Resources are no more the reason woman are underrepresented than mentally retarded persons are underrepresented.
    A great outcome of the past 40 years is a plethora of data showing there is no limit to the amount of resources you can throw at something, the outcome will be the same. If you fail to address the problem, you will fail to solve it.
    The reason women are underrepresented in the film industry is a discussion to be had and plenty of good data to support the observable problem, however it is not a feel good conversation. Truth rarely is a feel good endeavor.
    Careful on being lead by the nose.

  12. Thanks for your reply Tucker. The Screen Australia funding stream was just one example. My concern with this diversity and inclusion ideology is where does it all lead. Already segregation is being encouraged in the name of equality.

  13. What a bizarre article and response. Suicide has nothing to do with filmmaking and yet you infer that men have it tough in filmmaking because they are committing more suicide? But wait a minute, you’re talking about the general population. Wow, dude. Just wow. All women want is a chance. I have been a female filmmaker for 30 years. I have not had one opportunity that the men in the industry have had. Not one. All they have to do is show up on set. Bark some orders and walk away. But when a woman does that, all hell breaks lose. Been there. Done that. I suggest you widen your circle a bit. Start talking with some female filmmakers and watch (and I mean watch) what they go through. Suicide? Oh honey, you have NO idea.

  14. Why don’t you back up your statements by having a real profile. And I think you failed to understand my argument regarding suicide and the changes in the workplace. Love to see one of your films and know what country you are from, Honey.

  15. Will, I made a documentary 2014 on history of Afghan Cameleers in Australia, although it was a very unique approach but non of the Australian film institution supported nor considered to any kind of funding. But at the end of all disappointment I made the film all in all out of my pocket.

    After four years very hard work all around Australia the film was made and ready for broadcast, again non of the public TV channels were interested to screen , due to some unknown reason, poor quality perhaps!

    Until the film was selected by BBC London and then screened from BBC TV plus an article on website. Then everything changed. But still very cheap or almost for free to be broadcasted on SBS.

    I thinks something is going very wrong in Australian film industry, and that is the case which Australian made film has never been successfuly improved to produce a top class film in the world stage.

  16. Thanks for your post Fahim. Let me guess, SBS offered you about $8000 for all that work?

  17. […] I don’t want to talk to much about it now, but was angered enough by the emergence of identity politics that I wrote an article expressing my views […]

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