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Mandy Nolan’s Soap Box: Australia Day – Lose the date

Jordan Raskopoulos asks us to make Australia Day May 8

I’ve never really got the point of Australia Day. I’ve never felt so much nationalistic pride that I want to put on my flag bikini and listen to some shit middle-of-the-road Aussie music while drinking a beer chanting ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie’. Perhaps we could change the call and response from Oi Oi Oi to Sorry Sorry Sorry.

Australia Day always feels like Bogan Day. I’d be happy with a public holiday for that. At least it’s honest and isn’t attempting to be inclusive. As a white woman who lives with white-woman privilege I don’t feel invested in Australia Day. My friends in Bondi tell me they don’t go out. It’s dangerous. People get violent. They get violent because Australia Day is basically a nationwide outdoor binge-drinking session followed by a few blues.

I love my country, but I love it so much I don’t want to drop beer cans and ciggie butts all over it. I love my country so I want to do something useful to protect it, such as Stopping Adani and saving our reef. I love my country so I want to make it a better and fairer place for all. I don’t wake up on 26 January desperate to dance naked in thongs while eating a sausage sanga to commemorate Captain Cook rocking up uninvited at Sydney Cove. I’ve never felt like putting a flag on my aerial and driving around yelling abuse at migrants and anyone else who isn’t some small-eyed whitey because the English government at the time decided to send their unwanted out here. I find it weird that we celebrate what is ostensibly a break and enter. Australia Day really is a celebration for the English. It was a successful land grab by their empire. You wouldn’t get away with the whole ‘there was no-one home’ routine these days. We’ve got Facebook. And international law. You can’t just rock up to other people’s countries and claim it with your silly piece of fabric on a stick. It was their version of Manus Island. So why are we celebrating that?

Australia was somewhere else to deal with a social problem the English weren’t prepared to face in their own country. Ironically we celebrate the English stealing a country to send their poorest and most disenfranchised people. The descendants of the poorest and the most disenfranchised are often those celebrating the hardest. I don’t get it.

Right now there’s a campaign to move the date. I say let’s not just move the date, let’s just lose the date. Let’s just can the whole thing. Australia Day is boring. It’s pointless and it’s embarrassing. We haven’t got that much to celebrate. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not against public holidays, but commemorating invasion and the generations of trauma inflicted on Indigenous peoples of this country with a barbecue? That’s just cruel. If someone rocked up at my place and stole my home and then continued to rub it in every year with a giant ‘how good is my new house’ street party I’d be pissed off.

Sure, Australia Day is supposed to be about different stuff now – celebrating who we are as Australians today. Celebrating ‘diversity’. That’s a joke. If I were ‘diverse’ I would stay inside and lock the doors. Drunk Aussies on Aussie Day have a history of beating up Diverse Australians. And before you start bleating on about our Freedom and being the lucky country, let’s have a good hard look at what’s behind that flimsy curtain of nationalistic fervour. Oh, we’ve destroyed one of the world’s natural wonders – the Barrier Reef – with coal mining and climate change. Oops. Quick, cover it up with a flag and drink a beer on it. There are nearly two women dying at the hands of their partners every week. Shit, we need more flags. And more beer. That’s nearly 100 bodies a year to cover. We abandon the world’s most vulnerable citizens – pushing them into offshore detention centres where we don’t have to see them. More flags to cover the shame and we’re going to have to buy a pub. And then there are our own Indigenous nations living in third-world poverty… Aussie Ausssie Aussie? I don’t feel particularly much like getting out the party hooters.

Can you tell me what exactly we are celebrating here? Because I, for one, don’t get it.


27 responses to “Mandy Nolan’s Soap Box: Australia Day – Lose the date”

  1. Michael says:

    I like the “Captain Cook “part most of all..

    • Joachim Staats says:

      Except that it was Captain Phillip who rocked up to Sydney Cove on 26/1/1788. Captain Cook only did the sail by of the East Coast in 1770. But I do like young Mandy’s whole take about Aussie Day.

      • tulip says:

        The Australia that we love to live in today was predominantly architected and built by white men. My God, blasphemy, heresy!

        I am a white man and I fully acknowledge the pains that thousands have suffered to bring Australia to where it is today. For example I recognise pioneers like the explorer Leichardt who “discovered” Australia in a new way for the British. He was a man who appreciated the aboriginals. He liked beer. I like beer. I also recognise the abilities of historic aboriginal people who clearly occupied the land for a bloody long time.

        While some say they love Australia for the clean air and nice beaches, I think there are a lot more better reasons too – one of which is us, the people. Our culture has built up from a convict settlement and integrated with previous land dwellers as well as dozens of other cultures. It has (still) a lot of faults and also lots of goodness about it.

        Most Australians today have UK heritage. Should we send them back? Should we deny their arrival in the first instance? Should we descend into the quagmire of government failures like South Africa has by the British relinquishing power (which was never tested) to the native race?

        The civil society in Australia operates under the Westminster legal system which unsurprisingly was brought here by the British too. It provides a relatively safe environment to have discussion like this and humiliate our politicians whenever possible. We do not have to have a spear throwing contest to resolve differences.

        So Mandy – and more importantly the divisive nature in each of us – you don’t really want to deal with these complexities and sadnesses, you just want to make a splash and get a name for yourself. The Left and the Right are no different in this respect and show next to no leadership on such matters.

        And I think the great majority of Australians simply don’t agree with this garbage any more.

        • Michelle Levick says:

          I dont agree with your crap!
          Polution,
          crime
          Disease
          that is what the English brought with them!

          • Jeff says:

            Fantastic, well thought out response Michelle!

            It’s good to see that there are supporters on both sides of the argument that have absolutely no willingness to talk with reason. The English brought plenty that would still not be here to this day had it been left to the indigenous people of the land. Not to mention that if it wasn’t the English, Australia would have been settled/invaded by the Spanish or the Dutch anyway…go and learn some history.

  2. Pete says:

    Spot on. I grew up in California and I could do some search/replace on a few phrases in this article to cover American Thanksgiving. Except that might qualify as plagiarism.

  3. Prue Mitchell says:

    Agree, big time. The fifth para, says it all.

  4. robot says:

    How can Adani affect the reef? It doesn’t exist as yet. And how is the temperature of the oceans affected by the upper atmosphere, even if that temperature has increased, which it hasn’t by and large given natural fluctuations. Yes let’s put comedians in charge of our national conscience. And we can all have a laugh at each other’s expense. Just watch for banana peels.

    • vera says:

      Comedians in charge of national conscience? Not a bad idea. They’ve served us well for centuries. Do you prefer politicians? But I do think scientists should be listened to about science. Doesn’t everybody?

      • john says:

        Sounds reasonable. The humour I like is self inclined, the reason a cream pie in the face was funny. And Michael Crichton in one of his last quotations said that science wasn’t decided by a consensus, it wasn’t a democracy. The science i used to like reading, as a layman, depended upon scepticism; it wasn’t opposed to it.

      • robot says:

        Sorry, anothe r reply. There was a physicist can’t rember his name, I read his first book then there was a second The End of Darkness or something. He’d been given a life sentence. Despite all his training in logic he felt the need to explain something more, in scientific terms. As new agey it might have been I couldn’t deride his work. I mean in physics they are talking about 11 dimensions, so what are these extra 7? Environmentalism is stuck in three, they can hardly handle the time dimension. Our temperature recording only goes back 100 years and ice cores and tree rings are localised. Of course we don’t want pollution, but that’s it, an aim we can make in time. Not at the insistence of the IPCC.

    • Spctre says:

      @Robot You’re an idiot…

    • Roy Drew says:

      Why should you care? You are a robot. Your only fear would be rust or your circuits shorting.

  5. robot says:

    Flourides were a bugbear 30 years ago, now no worry for makrrs of solar panels, the propaganda has shifted. The usual explanation for the 1998 coral bleaching worldwide was El Nino or whatever they called it there. Now we have climate change explaining everything. I wonder if it explains why I cannot find a single detractor on google or bingthese days. Must be climate change.

  6. Dot Moller says:

    TRUTH

  7. frank mcdonald says:

    In your last article, you called some of your comments satire.
    Is it satire that the first fleet officially declared on the 26 of January where here? or captain cook who went no where near Sydney Cove in 1778.
    Being uneducated and not into satire and being MALE, I must offer you an apology as again, sorry for being male, sorry for liking boobs, sorry for Australia Day.

    Perhaps the medication is wrong or the mushies are blooming, because 2 weeks in a row you have attacked the MALE culture of Australia. We’re all not red necks and uneducated.

    There’s a place called AGNES WATERS up the coast, perhaps you and your friends could move up there. You can save the mines, save the reef and all around do a great job.

    But of course your crowds at your SATIRICAL comedy nights wont be as big.

    Again as a MALE I am SORRY.

  8. Hilary says:

    Well done Mandy.

  9. Sel Pilgrim says:

    Mandy, I apologise for the moronic comments of some of your respondents, even if my spelling is sometimes off, I still recognize facts, even those with accidently incorrect dates applied, and you are mostly spot-on, sometimes embarresingly so. Go Girl. By the way, even though I’ve never attended one of you” SATIRICAL” COMEDY NIGHTS, I love your satire, and really, sometimes I’m sorry to be a male.

    Call me Phil

  10. Karen says:

    I too, find Australia Day an embarrassment, stupid, ignorant and insulting to indigenous peoples.
    Also, we need to move beyond national pride and recognise that we are world citizens. Let’s just drop the whole thing.

    • john says:

      World citizen? I can only recognise my country of birth not having been anywhere else, tho my forebears go back to Ireland Scotland. One’s sense of nationality is bound to one’s immediate culture, black white or brindle, and then one’s wider context, in reading for example. I recognise my other contexts but cannot call myself a world citizen. There are those who can, having travelled, but even then they have to recognise first-up experiences. As Joe Dolce said, it’s not a bada place.

  11. robot says:

    Nobody wants British law. The Moslems don’t want it tho some will stay quiet about their opposition. There’s Christian sects opposed to it; the law from heaven is coming. The Ab political clique want whatever they can get in grants and bone pointing. The boat people thought they were buying a passage and many have. When the Communist Party disbanded they didn’t retire to their knitting; they want their law. And the anarchists are quietly chuffing, all in line for no law. When Shorten leads this country there’ll be some happy workers with a little more stash and a whole new massive problem to deal with. Unless we elect the Greens. And give in to insanity. But we already have. The future is anyone’s. We’ve voted for whatever quick fix.

  12. Vince Kean says:

    I’m male and a proud Australian. My parents were proud Australians, my children are proud Australians. I’ve never felt the need to celebrate Australia Day, its where I live, its where the elements that make up my body come from. I don’t need to wave flags, wear flags,have a ritual bar-b-que or exhibit any other type of inane exhibitionist behaviour to prove my loyalty and love of this land.
    I’m with you Mandy lets just forget the whole kit and kaboodle. Real patriots can expend their energy fighting off Adani, preserving our vestigial rainforests, saving our reef, and supporting indigenous Australians as they strive for equal access to the lands bounty.
    People who wear budgie smugglers and bikinis featuring the Australian flag should remember that not lowering the flag at sunset is an insult to the flag. So remember to get them down around your ankles at sunset. Could make the boors who wear them more interesting and the day worth celebrating.

  13. Marion says:

    LiEUTENANT James Cook called in to Botany Bay in 1770 & noted that it would be a good place for a colony. He became Captain on a later voyage. Captain Phillip took the First Fleet to Botany Bay & found it unsuitable ( too shallow for a harbour, no water). He took a sail up to Port Jackson & found, a beautiful harbour with water. The British flag was planted on 26/01/1888. By the way, he beat the French by a couple of days of days meeting La Peruse. How would things have changed under the French?

  14. Michelle Levick says:

    Loved it. had a great laugh. it is very clever and funny. But underlying sadness with it.

  15. Puj says:

    Wasn’t it !788?

  16. Ian Riley says:

    Crikey!! as one of our well known passed Australians would say!! RIP
    sooo many different views on the subject, equally divided!!
    isn’t every day an Australian day????
    Sorry for the indigenous, the early settlers just were not educated
    there are loads of people wanting to live in Australia to drink beer and BBQ in the sunshine
    I agree drop the whole issue and be thankful every day is Australia day!! let em have a good time
    365 of em!!
    even Christmas day is Australian!!
    its too hot for snow!!
    come on Aussie Come oooonnnn!! put the beer down for a sec and think clearly
    are we really gonna celebrate just one day of the year??

  17. Mulch says:

    Get over your dinosaur backwards facing Lefty dogma and look forwards to a positive and inclusive Australia.

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