Episode 8 – Past Injustices

Interviewees Janna Thompson, Marcia Langton and Mick Dodson explore the effect past injustices have on present generations.

Teacher Notes

Content overview

This episode focusses on the question of whether we should bear any responsibility for the actions of our ancestors. It considers Australia’s history, with a particular focus on the treatment of Indigenous Australians and the Stolen Generations, and asks whether a nation should be treated as an intergenerational ethical person. The discussion distinguishes between the ethical acts of apology, acknowledgment, and guilt.

Links to Ethical Capability

• Explore the contested meaning of concepts including freedom, justice, and rights and responsibilities, and the extent they are and should be valued by different individuals and groups (VCECU014)
• Investigate why ethical principles may differ between people and groups, considering the influence of cultural norms, religion, world views and philosophical thought (VCECU015)
• Discuss the role of context and experience in ethical decision-making and actions (VCECD018)

• Explore a range of ethical problems and examine the extent to which different positions are related to commonly held ethical concepts and principles, considering the influence of cultural norms, religion, world views and philosophical thought (VCECU020)

Complementary curricula

Victorian Curriculum: History,
Victorian Curriculum: Intercultural Capability,
Victorian Curriculum: Personal and Social Capability
VCE Global Politics
VCE History
VCE Legal Studies (Units 2&3)

7-10 HSIE Syllabus – History
7-10 HSIE Syllabus – History Elective
7-10 HSIE Syllabus – Aboriginal Studies
HSC Aboriginal Studies
HSC Modern History
HSC Society and Culture
HSC Legal Studies

Questions and discussion points

  1. Activity (pre-watching or post-watching: Have students create “Australia’s Facebook page”. If this is done as a pre-viewing activity, use it to illustrate whether students have selected only the ‘good parts’ of Australia’s history.
  2. If I am proud to be an Australian because of the good parts of our history should I then also accept responsibility for the other parts?
  3. Should we judge the actions of past generations against the ethical values and principles of today’s society?
  4. Is it right to expect today’s Australians to apologise for actions they are not personally guilty of?