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Clemenger Melbourne creates ‘Deadly Questions’ site to discuss Indigenous issues

Clemenger BBDO Melbourne has partnered with the Victorian Government to launch a campaign supporting a proposed treaty with the nation’s Indigenous people, which encourages Australians to ask any question to a member of the Aboriginal community.

The Deadly Questions website gives the opportunity for Australians to ask questions, no matter how ignorant they may seem, to a member of the Aboriginal community.

Deadly Questions features questions non-Aboriginals are able to ask the Aboriginal community free from judgment

Following the submission of your question, the website reviews your question, passes it on to a ‘Deadly Champion’ to answer and gives users a status update on the specific question they have asked.

Once the question has been reviewed, approved and answered, your question will be responded to by a member of the Aboriginal community via email or text and published on the Deadly Questions website for other users to see.

After each question has been published on the website the ‘Deadly Champions’ will post a video response to the approved questions.

Evan Roberts, ECD at Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, told Mumbrella the agency knew people needed to see the value in our Aboriginal community and build a better relationship with them.

“We’re starting from so far back in this country in terms of a relationship with our Aboriginal people that we are not even mending a relationship, we actually needed to create one.

“We’re not even asking the most basic questions and it’s not because we are not interested or we don’t care, it’s actually because we are all worried about looking ignorant or being racist.

“To get where we need to get be, the absolute first step is to go ‘alright get all your dumb questions out, ask anything you want to ask,’ so Deadly Questions is a place where you can ask an Aboriginal person any question you want and you can ask it anonymously,” the ECD added.

Franklin responds to ‘why can’t people get over the past?’ question online

The idea for the campaign was born from a conversation the team were having about walking on egg shells, Roberts added.

“It came from a little moment where we were talking about ‘why are we all walking on egg shells here?’

“We can’t get to that resolution, and there is a lot we need to know.”

Some ‘Deadly Champions’ who have signed on to answer questions and promote the campaign include musician Adam Briggs, writer and poet Richard Franklin, elders Aunty Joy Murphy, Aunty Pam Pederson and Uncle Kevin Coombs OAM.

Questions already posted to the website include “do Aboriginal people still face racism every day?”, “is being Aboriginal just the colour of your skin?”, “do you prefer Aboriginal or Indigenous?” and “why can’t Aboriginal people get over the past?”.

Roberts said the brief was to help people understand and better appreciate the value of Aboriginal people and their culture.

“It’s really about understanding that so when the treaty comes around it’s something we can all celebrate and not be scared of.”

The ECD at Clemenger Melbourne said the process throughout the campaign was always based on a notion of “self-determination” and gave the Aboriginal community a huge amount of control.

“Self-determination is a process in which people are allowed to control their own lives and for Aboriginal people that idea of them being able to control it themselves is something they have really not had for a long time, so the process has been incredibly collaborative by necessity and by design.

“We needed to come up with an idea that would create a framework, it’s almost like the architecture of an idea which would then allow Aboriginal people to decide everything else about it.

“We really came to them with a structure of an idea and to just make sure they weren’t just contributing a bit but actually genuinely making it, so that is why it a very simple question and answer structure.”

The name Deadly Questions also reflects the missing knowledge between non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal Australians, Roberts said.

“Deadly is a cultural lesson itself as well, because deadly to non-aboriginal people means dangerous or bad but to Aboriginal people they use it like we use the word awesome, so a deadly question is an awesome question.

“It is a very special moment in our country’s history and we do feel privileged to be playing a small part in such an important matter for the country and it has been a huge learning curve for all of us who were involved in the production even just feeling close enough and comfortable enough to start asking questions.”

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