Last year, The Family Law season one premiered on SBS and did something no television show in Australian history had done before.
It centered upon the lives of a Chinese-Australian family.
Despite the fact one in three Australian families are not white-Anglo Saxon, almost every face we see on television looks exactly the same. The diversity and multiculturalism that makes up the tapestry of Australian life is not reflected in the current range of television we produce and watch.
On this week’s episode of Mamamia’s TV podcast The Binge, hosts Laura Brodnik and Gemma Garkut spoke to the creator and inspiration behind The Family Law, author, screenwriter and journalist Benjamin Law.
LISTEN: Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik and Head of News Gemma Garkut chat with Benjamin Law on this week’s episode of The Binge.
The blatant lack of diversity currently on our screens is not, Law says, a “PC [politically correct] cosmetic, feel good discussion to be having.
“I actually think it’s kind of a darker conversation than that. I think it’s why have non-white Australians been excluded systematically from Australian screens for a long time? Just knowing that makes me feel uncomfortable. Not as a TV maker, but also as a TV viewer and kind of as an Australian as well.”
Historically, Law says, most of the people in power in the television industry have been Anglo Saxon.
Even if they had the desire to put non-white faces on TV, Law reasoned, “you’re not going to feel confident enough to do that because you don’t feel like you have the authority to tell those stories…”
The way to change that is to open up the world behind the cameras as well.
“You invite a more diverse cohort of people into those rooms to tell those stories, to make those decisions, to tell you what it is like to have that experience. And I guess that’s what The Family Law has been like, you know, having such a diverse crew on board, not just in terms of the actors, but myself, the producers, it’s a really decent mix of people.”
MELBOURNE! Cinema Nova in Carlton is gonna screen the first two episodes of #TheFamilyLaw S2 on the big screen on Tuesday 13 June @ 8.30pm with a Q&A to follow afterwards. I’ll be there with both my fake and real mums, pictured here and god help us all. Link in the bio! Everyone else, you can catch our first two back-to-back episodes when we return to @sbs_australia and SBS On Demand Thursday 15 June! ????