How Australian am I?
I was born in Sydeney, raised mostly in south east Qld and have lived the majority of my adult life in the little city (okay, big town) of Gympie.
I’ve had members of my family fight for this country in wars and die from injuries they received. I’m related to people who have represented this country in sporting events and others who work behind the scenes keeping the wheels of government slowly turning.
Growing up on the Goldie, I’ve supported our vets on Anzac Day while at school and, despite not having the sport gene, have woken up at stupid o’clock to watch the Socceroos compete in the World Cup.
So what does Australia Day mean to me?
A day off.
Or at least it used to before I became a SAHD. Now it’s just a weekday the kids are home with me.
There’s a call at the moment for moving Australia Day away from the 26th of January and today I took the time, between beers, to read what it’s all about, and you know what? I don’t think it’s without merit. So much so I signed the online petition.
Not only did I sign the online petition (AVAAZ.ORG – Community Petitions) but I shared on my personal Facebook.
Immediately, I was labeled un-Australian.
I don’t get it. Why is it un-Australian to question things? Especially something like this which, unlike Anzac Day, or a minute’s silence at 11am on the 11th of the 11th, really doesn’t have much meaning to many people beyond a barbie and a couple of coldies to ward off the heat. After all, we’re not celebrating people who have laid down their lives for their loved ones.
Only we sort of are.
This is a date which marks something very dire and negative for a sizeable portion of our population – our Australian Aboriginal descendants. This date marks a moment in history when their way of life would forever change and their connection to this continent would, for a long time, be trivialised and dismissed. A date when their ancestors would be hunted for trying to hold onto their own land and defend their families.
Let’s think about that for a minute. What if most of the people around you – your workmates, neighbours & friends – were celebrating the death of your ancestors and putting a positive spin on things? Do you think you’d be a little upset about that?
No? Take another minute. Some people take longer to process things.
I sure-as-hops-makes-beer-better would.
And most people would agree they would too, otherwise you wouldn’t see people getting so upset when others don’t ‘get’ Anzac Day, or don’t take that minute on Remembrance Day to think about the poor sods who died under the assumption they were defending their families.
We all have respect for those we’ve lost in battles, and I’ve no doubt the Aboriginal community feels very much the same.
Why celebrate something on a date which, instead of making us feel a pride in our community, the more I think about it glorifies something to associate more with a national shame? Why not consider moving Australia Day to January 1st, the date the people of this country came together and decided to create the nation of Australia? Or maybe some neutral date which doesn’t have such a negative connotation or interfere with an already well established day off work?
Why not have a discussion about changing the date?
Surely all Australians, indigenous and newly arrived (in the grand scheme of things), could get behind that. After all, nothing defines this country more than supporting your mates.
Anything else would be downright un-Australian.
What do you think?
I’m all for a new anthem while we’re at it. Waltzing Matilda? That’d be okay, but since we’re drinking how about Cheap Wine? Or if we have to stick to the lyrics, Adam Hill’s suggestion above.
DID YOU KNOW:
‘Prior to 1888, 26 January was very much a New South Wales affair, as each of the colonies had their own commemorations for their founding. In Tasmania, Regatta Day occurred in December, South Australia had Proclamation Day 28 December, and Western Australia had their own Foundation Day on 1 June.
In 1888, all colonial capitals except Adelaide celebrated ‘Anniversary Day’. In 1910, South Australia adopted Australia Day followed by Victoria in 1931. By 1935, all states of Australia were celebrating 26 January as Australia Day (although it was still known as Anniversary Day in New South Wales). The name ‘Foundation Day’ persisted in local usage.’ Source, Wikipedia
If you enjoyed this post please share, like or comment
“Raising a family on little more than laughs.”