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This year, SBS is getting a head start on its January 26 coverage with Sunset Ceremony, live from Sydney Harbour. Co-host Narelda Jacobs tells Lauren Mitchell what to expect from the program
FNarelda Jacobs: “This is a time to question our own relationship [with] or how we view our First Nations culture in this country, and what we can do as allies to stand with First Nations people.”
OR some, January 26 is still a celebration of Australia’s nationhood, but for First Nations people, and a growing number of Australians alongside them, it’s a day with painful associations that is best spent in reflection.
No matter how you plan to spend the day, NITV and SBS invite viewers to deepen their understanding of January 26 with Sunset Ceremony, broadcast live from Yurong Point, Gadigal Country (Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, Sydney), on Wednesday, January 25.
Whadjuk Noongar woman and 10 News First anchor Narelda Jacobs, who will host alongside Wuthathi and Meriam man John Paul Janke, is looking forward to being a part of the telecast.
“This is the first time we will be approaching January 26 the day before, which I think is a really beautiful way to lead into the day,” she says.
“First Nations people are already quite reflective the day before. And so yeah, it’s just a nice way to be together, and to come together for a beautiful part of the day.”
Jacobs and Janke will lead a panel of guests including Ernie Dingo, Brooke Blurton, Aaron Fa’aoso, SBS Elder in Residence Rhoda Roberts, Professor Megan Davis, Uncle Allan Madden, Pastor Raymond Minniecon, Akec Makur Chuot and Azmeena Hussain in sharing their perspectives on January 26 and what it means to be Australian in 2023.
“We’re going to be hearing from other Australians, so white Australians, newer Australians, people who can add their perspective,” Jacobs explains.
“We aren’t going to tell you what to think, we are just going to give our perspectives and reflect on the year that we’ve had.
“We will be talking just about the social state of our country, tackle things like our national identity, tackle issues about racism, and what the face of racism looks like.
“There’s a whole heap of things that we need to talk about. And we’ve got the time to be able to talk about it.”
Sunset Ceremony offers a chance for viewers to consider their own position as Australia heads towards a Referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
“The Voice to Parliament is an advisory group,” explains Jacobs.
“And all we want to make sure is that that advisory group cannot be abolished with a stroke of a pen when a government changes. That’s all it means. And that there’s also constitutional recognition of First Nations people in Australia. It’s that simple.
“It’s really great to get people talking about it. And Sunset Ceremony won’t just be about the Voice to Parliament, but it is going to be looking ahead to a pretty huge year.
“This is a time to question our own relationship [with] or how we view our First Nations culture in this country, and what we can do as allies to stand with First Nations people.
“There are 800,000 or so First Nations people in Australia, it is not up to us to educate you, and to have one-on-one conversations with you, because we can’t possibly reach 25 million Australians. 800,000 people cannot possibly, as individuals, reach 25 million people.
“So [Sunset Ceremony] is for you to sit with the things that you’re hearing, and work out what your own relationship is and where do you stand?
“And I think Sunset [Ceremony] is just going to be nice. It’s going to be beautiful. I mean, Sydney Harbour is beautiful.”
■ Narelda Jacobs (Studio 10, 10 News First: Midday, NITV’s The Point) will co-host Sunset Ceremony on NITV and SBS on Wednesday at 7.30pm