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Byron Shire
March 3, 2021

Moving Australia Day raises passions

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We love to receive letters, but not every letter will be published; the publication of letters is at the discretion of the online and print letters editors.

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Scott Morrison is quite right to call out the Greens party for their utterly nonsensical ideas about Australia Day (Byron Council was not elected to play national politics but to attend to roads, waste, development application submissions and Shire beautification).

Firstly, moving the date doesn’t make sense. Between end of the final school term and New Year many Australians celebrate Christmas (or enjoy the holiday), and after New Year they enjoy a vacation. A national day of celebration at the end of summer makes perfect sense; if not in summer, do Australians really plan to celebrate a contrived national day in winter?

Secondly, the characterisation of January 26 as ‘Invasion Day’ is pure political agitation. Yes, Great Britain did send convicts down to a penal colony (which, subsequently went on to become the envy of the world with a quality of life second to none). Yes, Indigenous Australians suffered some hardships in this period as did many convicts and early settlers themselves. (Recall too, that the British were slaughtering the Scots in horrendous bloody battles far worse than anything the Indigenous Australians were subject to).

However, it is now 2018. There are several billion people on the planet. Australia was bound to be discovered sooner or later.

Indigenous Australians being generally mired in poverty, not technologically advanced or of military capacity, were destined to be colonised by someone.

The simple fact is Great Britain brought the best available model of civilisation to Australia, and Indigenous Australians rather than be encouraged to believe some fictitious return to 1600 is on the menu should be encouraged to appreciate the fact it was not the French, Dutch, Chinese or Indonesians who colonised their land!

Yes there have been abuses and outright discrimination through the White Australia Policy. However, changing the date will not help advance Indigenous Australians in modern Australia but serve only to assuage the guilty consciences of upper-middle-class whites with too much money and time on their hands.

Thirdly, Indigenous Australians should be fully assimilated into modern society; their children should be educated for all modern Australia has to offer; their children should imagine that top positions in law, finance, military, and medicine are all possible.

Indigenous Australians should be able to continue aspects of their culture where possible; Indigenous knowledge should be incorporated into modern society where expedient; Indigenous Australians should continue introducing their history to non-Indigenous people as they are generally being encouraged to do now.

However, first things first. Australia needs to stop playing suicide games with those who would continually try the present for the crimes real and perceived of the past. We are all here now and need to all move forward together.

The Greens policy will only serve to further divide Australians entrenching socialist identity politics into an increasingly fractured society.

Edward Kent

Suffolk Park

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  1. At last, some common sense. A very intelligent and mature opinion piece. Blind Freddie knows that a seperate date of mourning for the indigenous people will only cause more division . From what I have seen and heard the majority of indigenous people are happy with the present situation. A very small minority has been led by the nose by their white minority so called friends to believe they can be returned to a past age of ownership and predicament that has long since evolved into where they are now.

  2. Even though I think we should change the date I do believe it is fair to argue that changing the date at a local level can appear as a form of virtue signaling due to its ineffectiveness at prompting genuine change.

    I would make this minor comment, however: the only type of identity politics socialists play is that of class. For the most part they despise it because it tends to distract from what they see as people’s collective material interests. Identity politics is primarily considered a liberal movement, typically associated with defending marginalised groups based on gender, race, sexuality etc. That said, nationalists/alt-right etc are increasingly invoking their own form of identity politics as well.

  3. ‘Yes, Indigenous Australians suffered some hardships in this period as did many convicts and early settlers themselves.’ Quite the understatement, Edward! A couple of other things. Having a separate day of indigenous recognition is exactly ScoMo’s plan and, as you suggest, it’s ridiculous and divisive.

    It’s no great long tradition either. Briefly whipped up a bit in the 1988 colour and light show of tall ships and fancy costumes, it was largely otherwise ignored and has only recently developed sanctifies status, at the same time becoming a focus for some pretty questionable sentiment and behaviour.

    I have long been amazed (since my school Australian history lessons) that anyone saw this day as a cause for celebration. I gave no thought to the indigenous perspective and, being at a Catholic school in the ’60s, I don’t believe I was the victim of socialist brainwashing.

    It was because I saw it as the manifestation of a cruel plan to alleviate the bursting prison system (and why was crime so high?) by transporting prisoners to far flung places in horrendous conditions. A grand vision for a new, tolerant and egalitarian nation – not! It wasn’t even Australia or a nation but a convict colony.. It didn’t even mark the first flag planting and possession taking.

    A cause célèbre – not! There are numerous possibilities for more significant milestones in the evolution of modern Australia.

    It does have everything to do with local government as councils traditionally hold citizenship ceremonies and other celebrations on his day and by continuing to do so entrench the immutability of the day. Who says local councils can’t take a principled stand?

    What about taking the view that an enviable nation miraculously emerged despite this unlikely beginning and we’re all in it together now – indigenous inhabitants and immigrants of a vast array. That we can make it better by fostering tolerance and harmony with one step being an intelligent discussion in good will about a suitable national day – if we must have one. Is the problem with this view that we have to come to terms with the dark aspects of our history

    Lastly, the fact that the glorious empire was slaughtering the Scots doesn’t add a lot to my deliberations and makes me less inclined to celebrate its expansionism.


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