Welcome to Australia

Welcome to Australia

Screenshot of title card
Directed by Alan Lowery
Produced by John Pilger
Alan Lowery
Written by John Pilger
Starring John Pilger
Music by Dominic Murcott
James Ambler
Cinematography Preston Clothier
Edited by Andrew Denny
Running time
50 minutes
Country Australia
Language English

Welcome to Australia is a 1999 Carlton Television documentary, written and presented by John Pilger and directed and produced by Alan Lowery that demonstrates the injustices endured by Aboriginal Australian sportsmen and women who were, until recently, denied a place on Australia's olympic teams.[1][2]


In the build-up to the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games, Pilger finds that the elaborate preparations for the Olympics are overshadowing the reality of many Australia's Aboriginal citizens, who he argues continue to remain excluded, impoverished and mistreated in Australia.[2][3] The film uses sport as a mechanism to draw attention to and tell the story of the injustices endured by Aboriginal Australians while also arguing that Aboriginal Australians could have had a much more significant impact on Australian sport if they had not been deliberately prevented from doing so.[4][5]


Much of the information presented in Welcome to Australia comes from a book called 'Obstacle Race: Aborigines in Sport', written in 1995 by Colin Tatz. His view of Australia's treatment of Aboriginal athletes and the impoverished conditions faced by many Aboriginal Australians in 1999 lead Tatz to declare that Australia was not worthy of hosting the 2000 Olympics. Tatz argues that if China had made an issue of Australia's human rights record in the way in which Australia chose to make China's human rights an issue, it is unlikely that Australia would have been selected to host the games.[4][6]


"Whatever one may think of Pilger's style," stated Richard Ackland of ABC's Media Watch, "his film reminded us of a shameful and tragic history."[7]


Ceremony Category Year Result
New York Festivals TV Programming & Promotion Competition National/International Affairs 1999 Won[8]
WorldFest - Flagstaff Television Documentary & Information Programme: Political/International Issues 2000 Won[8]


  1. "Welcome to Australia". johnpilger.com. Retrieved 2010-06-11.
  2. 1 2 "Welcome To Australia". Top Documentary Films. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  3. "Documentaries That Changed The World - Vol. 2: John Pilger's Australia". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  4. 1 2 "Heritage Sports At The Royal Shows". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  5. Maume, Chris (4 September 1999). "Sport on TV: Shameful past of Australia's forgotten black athletes". The Independent. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  6. "Welcome to another Australia". New Statesman. 11 October 1999. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
  7. "John Pilger's "Welcome to Australia"". ABC Media Watch. Retrieved 2010-06-11.
  8. 1 2 "John Pilger's Awards". Global Information Services. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
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