Luhrmann: 'Obama's Lucky He Wasn't Born An Aussie'
Aussie moviemaker Baz Luhrmann is urging America's President-elect Barack Obama to thank his lucky stars he wasn't born Down Under - because he would never have got the chance to become a world leader.
The Moulin Rouge! director is using Obama's historic election victory and his new movie Australia to raise awareness about his homeland's shameful past, during which mixed race children were removed from their families and raised to be servants to white industry leaders and politicians.
And Luhrmann is keen to remind the world that he's not talking about something that was outlawed hundreds of years ago - the practice of separating half-Aboriginal, half-white children from their families was still common in the early 1970s.
Luhrmann says, "To give context, the President-elect of the United States is 47. If he was living in Australia, it is absolutely credible that the government, because he had one white parent and one black parent, could have taken him forcibly from his family.
"They would have put him in an institution, probably lied to him that his parents were dead, changed his name and reprogrammed him to be European, so he could have some sort of function doing something of service in white society. That would possibly have been Obama's journey."