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First Contact participants set to reunite

AAP logoAAP 1/12/2016 Danielle McGrane

As the second season of the SBS show First Contact nears an end, the famous participants are preparing to reunite for the first time since they filmed the series.

Singer-songwriter Natalie Imbruglia, ex-One Nation politician David Oldfield, TV personality Ian 'Dicko' Dickson, comedian Tom Ballard, actress Nicki Wendt and former Miss Universe Australia Renae Ayris have stirred up some strong feelings as they immersed themselves in Aboriginal culture around the country on the show.

Oldfield has become the antagonist of the group as his views on Aboriginal culture and indigenous people seem to clash with nearly everybody else's.

But on the show, Ballard attempted to engage him in discussion several times to try and understand his position.

"He (Oldfield) can not stand to see children be neglected in any way, or living in abject poverty, which is what we see in Elliott ( in NT) and other places on the trip so I recognise that fundamentally good motivation, where he's coming from," he said.

"But I have very strong reservations about the way he goes about doing that and his inability to listen to Aboriginal people and consider the explanations as to why Aboriginal people find themselves in certain circumstances, and his inability to acknowledge the importance of tradition and culture, and connection to country and language, which came up again and again on our trip."

A few months have passed since the filming and, after the final episode airs on SBS on Thursday, The Reunion will offer the show's participants time to reflect on the experience.

It's possible that in that time Oldfield, or any other member of the cast, may have altered their views on the experience. For Wendt, that change took place on the show.

"I started off much more like David ... my views were probably in the same territory, but I definitely came around. I came around remarkably quickly," she said.

"I had a completely transformative experience and left that month with enormous optimism and felt I had a much deeper understanding ... it really affected every facet of my life.

"I really took a lot of huge life lessons from it that weren't necessarily just about indigenous Australia but just that little reminder that everyone's got a story, everyone's story is worth hearing."

* First Contact episode three will air at 8.30pm on Thursday December 1 on SBS followed directly by The Reunion in front of a studio audience at 9.30pm. All episodes will be available to stream via SBS On Demand.

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