Another lunch at City Diggers and Struggle Street again

Goulash with vegetable roast this time.

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You may recall I wrote last Thursday:

A companion at City Diggers yesterday lives in one of our own Struggle Streets – there was a murder there the other week. I’ll be interested to see what he thought of the show. He took my point about the hypocrisy of the Tele Aunt Sally Attacks and was also amused to see the TV Guide’s very different rating.

He did watch it and liked it. Like me he didn’t feel the people portrayed were being mocked. Like me he thought it good that a bit of the way so many live was being represented more fairly than usual.

But controversy continues: ‘STRUGGLE STREET’ SPURS LEGAL WAR AS DOCO MAKERS TO SUE MAYOR; PARTICIPANTS TO SUE SBS.

…the controversy that was initially borne from last weekend’s promo still left a bitter taste and similar sentiment of outrage from participants of the show after airing, as 9 News reports select participants are set to sue SBS over their portrayal in the documentary. Shine lawyers are set to represent some of the Mt Druitt residents on a pro bono basis, in a bid that will attempt to pull next week’s 2 hour series finale from the air.

Lawyers representing the residents will reportedly file for damages in a defamation case. Shine lawyer George Newhouse claims particular emphasis will be made on 16-year-old participant Bailee and the legal “duty of care” SBS was entrusted with, following an interview in which the teenager claimed she had been raped.

A protest against SBS was also staged this week, with a fleet of garbage trucks arriving outside their Sydney studios…

SBS really should be thanking Blacktown City Mayor Stephen Bali (ALP) for those trucks and the Terror and others for the publicity: Struggle Street sets ratings record for an SBS documentary, with 1.31 million viewers.

In the five major cities alone, it attracted 935,000 viewers – putting it ahead of Nine’s Reno Rumble on 791,000 and Seven’s House Rules on 631,000. (Struggle Street’s national audience of 1.31 million includes its 370,000 regional viewers. Full regional ratings for every other program are not yet available.)

It also smashed its direct rivals in the 8.30pm timeslot: ABC’s The Weekly with Charlie Pickering (443,000) and The Agony Of …. Flirting (368,000); Seven’s Criminal Minds (460,000); Nine’s The Amazing ’90s (530,000) and Ten’s Wonderland (489,000).

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William hunts for food in Struggle Street.

Funnily enough we used to do that in Sutherland when I was a kid of about ten years old! The pigeons were safe from us though…

Among the many letters and comments I rather admire former NSW Premier Nathan Rees:

I’ve been a resident of Western Sydney almost all my life. I can categorically state that there are many more people dealing with even greater levels of chaos and hardship than shown on this SBS documentary, writes Nathan Rees.

Would you let your extended family participate in a warts and all documentary to be aired prime time?

Probably not. So, firstly, let’s recognise the bravery behind the faces and families in SBS’s Struggle Street. Bearing in mind that we’ve only seen episode one, it appears that reasonable concerns about fairness were largely unfounded. Let’s hope this remains the case.

For those who came in late, Struggle Street claims to be a documentary about life in Mt Druitt in Western Sydney. Ashley and Peta are on disability support and carer payments as they go about trying to feed, clothe and house their children and grandchildren. There’s also an ice addict in their midst just to provide a challenge…

It will be interesting to see if any of the State or Federal Government support agencies act on what aired.

Eagles Rap, the suicide prevention group does extraordinary work, as does Graceades. Both have had their funding reduced. You can ring to donate on (02) 9679 9991 and (02) 9628 2045 respectively.

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