Entertainment TV ‘I have no regard for your language’: lessons learned in final First Contact

‘I have no regard for your language’: lessons learned in final First Contact

Young Indigenous leader Dion Creek is taken aback by David Oldfield's opinion on Aboriginal languages. Photo: SBS
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Former One Nation deputy David Oldfield has told an up-and-coming Aboriginal elder he has “no regard” for indigenous languages in the final episode of First Contact.

The tense scene came near the end of the journey into indigenous Australia for the likes of beauty queen Renae Ayris and former Australian Idol judge Ian ‘Dicko’ Dickson.

Oldfield asked Aboriginal hardline welfare advocate Dion Creek whether there was any “productive use” in indigenous people continuing to learn the languages of their ancestors.

“For example if they spoke Japanese, there’s potential for jobs … because of incoming tourism,” Oldfield said, while an embarrassed Natalie Imbruglia closed her eyes in horror. 

Imbruglia cringes as Oldfield questions the worth of Indigenous languages. Photo: SBS

“From what i gather you have very little respect for our language,” Creek told Oldfield.

“I have no regard for it,” Oldfield admitted.

“We’re never going to convince someone like you,” replied Creek.

Participants go to jail

In the third and final episode of the SBS reality show, participants were invited to experience an experimental liberal prison in the Kimberley region in WA – all except Oldfield, who was personally banned by the Minister for Correctional Services.

“It’s appalling, I would have liked to have gone,” complained Oldfield, as host Ray Martin explained the minister had not given a reason for banning the former MP.

Oldfield is told he won’t be joining the others:

“What’s he worried I’m to see?” asked Oldfield.

In a surprising show of solidarity, Dickson initially refused to participate after hearing the ex-politician had been barred, but eventually joined the others in the community-centred prison.

One of the more moving moments of the episode came as Dickson and comedian Tom Ballard joined an inmate in the prison’s recording studio – one of many perks the prisoners enjoy compared with typical Australian jails.

After sharing a personal recording he had made to deter himself from reoffending, the inmate described trying to break the cycle of incarceration.

“I really don’t wanna waste my life just drinking and doing the same things and end up back in here. I wanna try and fight real hard this time,” he told them. 

Dickson and Ballard were both moved by an inmate’s pledge not to reoffend. Photo: SBS

No love lost between Oldfield and Ray Martin

As host Ray Martin asked each of the six participants to conclude their journey into the outback with the lessons they would be taking home, it was clear Oldfield was not going to budge on his original comments about Aborigines.

“I’ve learned many things Ray, but … you think learning something means [someone] should have changed their mind,” he told the host.

Oldfield said that while he had met people he “liked” and found some positives in the things he’d seen, he still believed the Aboriginal way of life had no place in modern Australia.

The other participants described being considerably more moved by the experience.

Nicki Wendt is confronted by her comments from the beginning of the show. Photo: SBS

The most outwardly affected was Dickson, who broke down while revealing he was sad his wife had not been on the journey with him.

“I need to retrace a lot of these steps with my wife because she’s my soulmate,” an emotional Dickson told the group.

But it was actress Nicki Wendt who summarised her growth most eloquently.

Prior to embarking on the trip, Wendt had confessed she was nervous about how Aboriginal people would smell.

“No matter how much they smell, no matter how many times a day they floss – they’re miles ahead of me,” she said.

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