Hans Lovejoy, editor
Every Australia Day, polarised humbug erupts from those who want to just wave a flag to celebrate their culture, and those who see that Aussie flag as a symbol of British genocide and invasion.
As a nation, are we coming any closer to resolving this touchy subject?
Those who hold an unchallenged world view of history are bound to feel threatened and indignant because it appears like an attack on their culture.
Stop ruining their snag ’n flag party!
But those who study a bit of history know that it wasn’t until 1935 that January 26 was termed Australia Day in all Australian states and territories.
So historically, the date doesn’t matter; what should is an attempt to reconcile with those who inhabited these lands well before colonisation. And besides, Australia’s federation on January 1, 1901, will always be a better date to celebrate.
The rhetoric from those who downplay the need to change the date of Australia Day appears fairly thin and lacks empathy.
For example in 2017, Australian Catholic University lecturer Anthony Dillon wrote for academic website The Conversation and asked, ‘How will protesting about the date and Australia Day help those Aboriginal people most in need?’
‘…I question the motives and sincerity of those claiming to be upset because of injustices committed in the past by what boils down to what one set of my ancestors did to another set of my ancestors’.
Why wouldn’t you want to address past injustices?
For a start, it could provide an opportunity for much more harmony than exists currently.
Dillon’s position appears to assume that as an individual, he has nothing to do with the actions of his ancestors.
It’s like the simplistic and unscientific climate change argument that there is no point in cutting carbon emissions because Australia doesn’t contribute much to global emissions (even though we do, per capita, and are the world’s largest exporter of coal).
As for helping those in need, there are a large pile of government reports and recommendations that point the way, yet continue to be ignored. Racial discrimination is yet to be removed from the Constitution (Sections 25 and 51).
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is another way forward, and remains inexplicably unsupported by the current government.
Continued government inaction on reconciliation should be highlighted on Australia Day because governments have done fuck all about it since invasion.
Address that, and then those wanting to keep the date might have some credibility.