No Struggle Street as sun shines on Frankston

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A SECOND series of SBS TV show Struggle Street looks set to be filmed in the western suburbs of Sunshine rather than Frankston.

Several families in Sunshine have reportedly been “test-filmed” by the production company behind the controversial series labelled “poverty porn” by some community leaders angry at the portrayal of Mount Druitt in the first series of Struggle Street that aired earlier this year.

A suggestion by a leading bookmaker that Frankston could be the location for a second series of Struggle Street led councillors to write to the Australian Human Rights Commission in protest (‘‘Fair go’ for Frankston’, The Times 1/6/15).

A letter from mayor Cr Sandra Mayer to the Commission, sent in June, acknowledged “that certain communities in Australia, including Frankston, have social issues” but asked the AHRC to investigate TV shows that “target or witch hunt more vulnerable sectors of any community … to secure ratings” at the expense of “reputation and civic pride for entire communities”.

“It is difficult in our circumstances to achieve improvements for sections of our community,” the letter from council stated.

“It is made even more difficult when programs such as Struggle Street and ‘Street Talk’ on The Footy Show set out to demean and stigmatise communities. They merely further imbed actual and perceived intergenerational disadvantage.”

The AHRC responded to council in July and advised there was no basis for the Commission to investigate TV shows such as Struggle Street since its remit is limited to complaints about discrimination over race, gender, age, religion, relationship status and “political opinion or
social origin”.

AHRC investigation and conciliation service director Tracey Raymond advised: “From the information provided to date, it does not appear that there is a basis on which the Commission can investigate a specific complaint of discrimination or breach of human rights as it is not apparent that the subject matter falls within the scope of the legislation.”

Cr Glenn Aitken, who pushed for council to write to the Commission, said he still disapproves of “disgraceful” Struggle Street even if it seems unlikely that Frankston will be the setting for its second series.

Council also wrote to the Australian Press Council expressing its concerns about Struggle Street but no response was received.

SBS is remaining tight-lipped and is refusing to confirm whether a second series of Struggle Street will be commissioned despite the reports of test filming in Sunshine.

First published in the Frankston Times – 26 October 2015

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