Apology as a settler colonial brand: N. Carah, E. Louw, ‘The Apologetic Brand: building Australia’s brand on a post-colonial apology’, in Z. Volcic, M. Andrejevic (eds), Commercial Nationalism: Selling the Nation and Nationalizing the Sell, Palgrave, 2016, pp. 27-45
Excerpt: Baz Luhrmann’s film Australia (2008) is the most expensive and one of the highest grossing films in Australian history (Connell 2008). While cinema has long been recognised for its role in constructing and mediating national identities, Australia was also an exercise in branding and promoting the nation. The film is an example of how commercial films form part of the nation-branding industry. The film was partly financed and subsidised by Australian governments and it was accompanied by a $50 million print and advertising campaign funded by Tourism Australia that reached an estimated audience of 580 million viewers worldwide (Hogan 2010). Australia uses the visual and narrative form of a Hollywood epic to construct a mythological history for the Australian identity organised around the motif of apology. Australia addresses questions of native title, colonial and frontier relations, the stolen generations and reconciliation. In doing so, the film references key events in settler-indigenous relations since the 1990s: the High Court’s 1992 Mabo decision which recognised Native Title; the 1997 Bringing Them Home report on the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, and which first called for a national apology; and the Federal Parliament’s 2008 Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples.
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