Rebel With a Cause - Part 1

Director Douglas Watkin,Jill Robinson,EJ Garret,S.F. Tusa / 2023 / Australia

What does it take to make a difference? Four First Nations trailblazers – a senator, a magistrate, a media icon and a poet – put everything on the line for a brighter future.

Senator Neville Bonner, a Jagera Elder, was the first Indigenous person elected to Parliament, serving 12 years across four federal governments. Former teacher and barrister Pat O’Shane, a Kuku Yalanji woman, became Australia’s first Aboriginal magistrate – a position she held from 1986 until 2013. Birri Gubba Gungalu radio host Tiga Bayles ruled the airwaves, presenting Sydney’s Radio Redfern and establishing the Brisbane Indigenous Media Association and the National Indigenous Radio Service. And Noonuccal poet, conservationist and activist Oodgeroo Noonuccal was the first Aboriginal person to publish a book of verse.

Commissioned by National Indigenous Television (NITV), this four-part documentary series homes in on the political dimension of the personal, showcasing the unparalleled efforts of four trailblazers from Queensland who altered the course of Australian history. Interweaving never-before-seen archival material with interviews with loved ones and peers, Rebel With a Cause dives into the philosophies that guided these four figures – “Don’t hate; educate”, “I’m going out with my gloves on”, “I’m a token for no man” and “Are you going to be an honourable ancestor?” – to present an inspirational, vital account of First Nations–led change-making.

Please note: The Wednesday 9 August session will screen the episodes about Neville Bonner and Pat O’Shane, with directors Douglas Watkin and Jill Robinson in attendance. The Saturday 12 August session will screen the episodes about Tiga Bayles and Oodgeroo Noonuccal, with directors EJ Garret and S.F. Tusa in attendance.

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