Sunday, January 25, 2009

Australia Day

26th January 1788 was the day the British initiated their settlement of Australia. As a celebratory tribute I am off to play golf in the morning at Yarrambat – the aboriginal name for ‘high hill’ which pretty much summarises my attitude to Australia. After that I’ll have a beer (or three) and thank providence for me being born Australian and for the fact that Australia has British ancestry. A civilised, society with liberal, democratic values and a sound, effective legal system.  Take multi-cultural ambivalence and dump it elsewhere.

Australia day is viewed by certain backward aboriginal groups as Invasion Day – they want the date changed – (that would improve things?) presumably to a ‘year zero’ – but how do you date the Dreamtime?  Well I have no idea but who should care about such myths anyway? Attempting to change the date would be a move by the Rudd Government I would favour - they would then be thrown out of office. Go on Kevin try to change that date! Aboriginal Australians would not have been better off living under Indonesian or Chinese control and enjoy better living conditions and prospects as a consequence of the advent of white settlement.  Aboriginals need to make a go of it.  Many are.

The truth is that we all tend to take for granted the economic and political freedoms and the quality of life that we enjoy as Australians. Australia Day should remind us of our luck in the genetic lottery. It is nice that we are not a theocratic state or a worker paradise celebrating its national day of rebellion. I celebrate the fact that I wasn’t born in Iran, Saudi Arabia, North Korea or Cuba.

This isn’t self satisfaction. It amounts to seeing what is in front of my eyes.

Tomorrow I won’t even consider the hateful anti-Australianism that left wing blogs and Melbourne’s Pravda parade this day each year. I had my say last year.  At first sight their postings disgust me but it really is mainly false consciousness and stupidity.

15 comments:

conrad said...

"Aboriginal Australians would not have been better off living under Indonesian or Chinese control"
.
Says who? Most Chinese states excluding China are pretty decent places to live. Are the minority groups in Singapore, Hong Kong, or Taiwan (and Vancouver :) so badly off? They might complain in Taiwan, but the minority group there is doing better than the Aboriginal Australians. In addition, all these places have good economies, less crime, and better education systems better than Australia, despite not having the natural resources.

Personally I wouldn't mind a change of date, since my impression is that few people actually care about the date, and it would stop all these complaints.

Spiros said...

Harry, you know in your heart of hearts it's going to happen. It might take a while, but it will happen. Here's how in 5 easy steps.

1. Proclaim May 27 a national public holiday to replace the Queens Birthday holiday. They're only a week or so apart, so no one will bat an eyelid, apart from the risible monarchists. Call May 27 Australia Reconciliation Day,

2. Shift all the awards (AC, Australian of the yeat etc) from Australia Day to Australia Reconciliation Day. De-emphasise everything ceremonial about Australia Day.

3. Eventually, ARD will seep fully into the public consciousness as our day of national celebration.

4. Rename Australia Day to First Fleet Day.

5. Rename Australia Reconciliation Day to Australia Day.

And it's done.

civitas said...

Does one wish Australians Happy Australia Day? If so, consider yourselves so wished.

davidp said...

After some thought I agree a change of date is not a bad idea - for a few reasons.

1. The holiday is for symbolic reasons.

2. The symbolism of January 26 is at best mixed for Aboriginal Australians.

3. January 26 commemorates British colonization of Sydney.

4. Australia did not exist until January 1, 1901, when the Commonwealth of Australia was proclaimed. This really is Australia Day. This may seem a bit picky, but federation was not assured and the gains of the 19th century could have been easily lost by a fractious federation, poor design of the constitution etc. Federation is worth commemorating.


4a. As an added benefit our productivity would be improved by removing one public holiday.

5. If people are adverse to declaring January 1, Australia Day, there are a bunch of alternatives:

5a. The day in June 1899 when members of the colonies voted yes to federation. (or the day in 1900 when WA voted to join)

5b. Days of the most historic convention or the Tenterfield Oration or any other significant day.

6. As well as not having the mixed symbolism of January 26, this would have the advantage of focussing Australians on our history around Federation, rather than colonisation.

7. I agree Australia Day shouldn't just be about Reconciliation - our whole history isn't and shouldn't defined by this (albeit very important) issue. A public holiday (whether it is May 27, or the Mabo decision or another day) about reconciliation is a separate issue.


cheers (and happy Australia Day!)

davidp said...

P.S.

I should say income not productivity...

hc said...

Conrad, I am unsure the Tibetans would agree with you.

I guess I would like to keep the current date as a celebration of the advent of civilised life in Australia.

Spiros, I absolutetely oppose any idea of a 'reconciliation day'. Davidp spells out the reason - the celebration we enjoy on Australia Day is much more that an excuse for spilling guilt.

Aboriginal australians need to get on with it and stop making excuses. They don't have to drink themselves stupid and wreck publicly-funded housing provided to them. They are people with brains and with choices and should not be treated as objects of pity. Nor should they see white Australia as seeing them in that way.

Spiros said...

OK Harry, call it "Aboriginal Rugged Individualist Day" if you prefer. The point of the exercise is to change the date from January 26, which is relevant to NSW only in any case.

hc said...

Spiros, I don't believe that the guilt-ridden anxieties of the deadbeat left should be inflicted on our national day. Australia Day is fine.

Yobbo said...

Says who? Most Chinese states excluding China are pretty decent places to live. Are the minority groups in Singapore, Hong Kong, or Taiwan (and Vancouver :) so badly off?.

All these places except Taiwan were also British Colonies. Taiwan was an American client state.

In addition, all these places have good economies, less crime, and better education systems better than Australia, despite not having the natural resources.

This is largely because they jumped on the democracy bandwagon 100 years later than Australia did.

The extra 60-70 years of Dictatorship experienced by Singapore and Hong Kong meant they basically skipped the labor movement and the emergence of the welfare state that happened around the rest of the world in the 20th century.

Give them a few more years and they'll catch up.

via collins said...

Agree with the majority of the commenters here Harry, the complications of a Jan 26th date can be banished forever as suggested.

I've had too many years of quizzical looks from non-Australians as they struggle to work out how a day that disenfranchises the original inhabitants of our country can be used as celebration.

And May 27th seems to be a very popular choice.

Happy new year.

Matt Canavan said...

Most of you, commenters are dreaming. Australia Day is here to stay.

Rudd dismissed any notion of change quickly knowing the political poison that it was.

Plus the day only seems to be growing in stature. I have never seen as many Australian flags. Aussie! Aussie! Aussie!

conrad said...

"Conrad, I am unsure the Tibetans would agree with you."
.
I could point to South Africa here and a few other places that wern't exactly the best for local population in the 20th century, like Australia for example.
.
.
"The extra 60-70 years of Dictatorship experienced by Singapore and Hong Kong meant they basically skipped the labor movement and the emergence of the welfare state that happened around the rest of the world in the 20th century.

Give them a few more years and they'll catch up."
.
That might true unfortunately. I guess we'll find out.

Brian Lee said...

You think the only people who are people
Are the people who look and think like you.
Stop hating, embrace diversity!
I'm surprised that you got so far as professorship in Australia with that hatred.

hc said...

Brian, celebrating the fact that I wasn't born in North Korea doesn't make me intolerant. Just obvious realism.

How do you know which people I like? How do you know I don't like diversity?

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