Every Australia Day I…

Every Australia Day I have the same thoughts:

  1. Australia Day should really be on a different calendar day
  2. We should really be a republic by now
  3. We should really change that flag

Australia has an appalling record of gross mistreatment of Indigenous Australians. Scheduling the national day of Australia to fall on a date representing colonisation is: At best, in awfully poor taste; At worst, an instrument for wilful and malicious socio-cultural subjugation.

Speaking of subjugation, why do we still support a foreign monarch? In this day and age… it’s pretty amazing (and embarrassing). Surely we can work out some other model of governance.

So every Australia Day I come to the same conclusions:

  1. We should become a republic
  2. We should mark the date we do so by making it the new Australia Day
  3. And we should remove the Union Jack from the flag

It seems pretty straight-forward to me. Maybe we could even become a republic on January 26 – provided we do something to properly reconcile all Australians (a simple “sorry” isn’t enough). Hmmm, I’m sure that it will happen eventually.

10 thoughts on “Every Australia Day I…”

  1. OTOH, the southern cross has been adopted as a symbol of racism – at least over east. Hopefully that’s just a fad, or we’ll end up with a very lonely Federation star.

  2. Very uncool Tone. Pigeonholing contributes to what is wrong with Australian culture and you exemplify that with your comment. Perhaps you could try being constructive – I’m sure you’ve got the intelligence to do that?

    Greg, I’d guess (and hope) it is a fad – the symbolic use of southern cross has been around for a long time, and not just in Australia.

  3. Greg: Ah yes. I think it’s called the “Aussie Swazi” when in tattoo form.

    tone: As a fortune cookie once told me, “The philosophies of today are the social mores of tomorrow.” The world will change, and you will come around and wonder how you were ever so narrow-minded. 😛

    Adam: Keep it real. 🙂

  4. What can be done to reconcile, though? We can’t go back and fix what happened. And I don’t think anything of monetary value is a legitimate route to reconciliation. How do you reconcile something done so long ago? What more can you do than simply say ‘sorry’?

    1. I think it’s pretty clear that a lot more can be done to reconcile. It’s worth determining what to do, and following through with it – rather than throwing our hands up and proclaiming it all too hard.

      Simply saying “sorry” and offering no form of compensation (for well-documented, systematic, state-sponsored discrimination) is hollow and plainly insulting. Particularly in regards to the Stolen Generations.

      Everyone who was negatively affected by being forcefully taken from their parents should receive some form of compensation. The government should (at the very least) provide free access to reunification and counselling, and (more appropriately) provide financial compensation for personal hardship and damages.

      The fact that occurrences were so wide-spread should not in any way diminish individual cases. The government should introduce a claims process and treat each claim individually and on its own merits. It may take 30+ years, but it may be the only way to close this sad chapter of Australian history.

      I can’t imagine any other situation in which a reasonable person would assert that “sorry” alone is appropriate compensation for such gross mistreatment.

      In contrast to the idea that anything of monetary value is illegitimate, any process that explicitly writes out financial compensation simply because it’s “too hard” cannot possibly be considered legitimate.

      How empty and weak is it to only say sorry after firm confirming that you will accept no liability? Pfft. It’s almost more insulting than not apologising at all.

      1. I didn’t mean to come across as opinionated, I was simply playing devils advocate. I like the idea about reunification and counseling – the main reason I state that financial compensation isn’t an option is because I feel it makes an apology shallow. “Oh, we’re sorry about the bad things we did so long ago – here, have some money.”

        I guess I just feel that something more meaningful needs to get done. Reconciliation isn’t just saying sorry and handing over money – it’s recognizing the mistakes made and being forgiven, too. It’s very easy to say sorry and hand over a wad of cash. It’s much more difficult to say sorry and educate the world about it and assume responsibility for it.

        I think what Rudd did was a step in the right direction, but it was not enough. But convincing a nation that they should pay for mistakes their ancestors made – when so many average, Blue Collar Australians are struggling today – seems like it could be a thing that would separate the nation more than unite it.

        I don’t see a monetary payment being a likely course of action when it has the potential to make things so much worse.

        1. In regards to the Stolen Generations, it’s a clear case of state-mandated abduction of a large number of children (some as recent as 1970).

          Many of the children were subject to physical and sexual abuse while in state care. Surely the state should be liable for damages arising out of that situation.

          If a private entity had orchestrated and managed the process, it wouldn’t matter that the current shareholders or board of directors were not involved at the time. The company would still be liable for damages.

          Look at James Hardie. They entered into a voluntary compensation fund for asbestos-related victims because a simple “sorry” clearly wasn’t considered anywhere near appropriate.

          As an organisation, the government must be held responsible for its historical actions.

          It’s fine to say that there are grey areas (eg. land taken at colonisation), but they shouldn’t diminish the argument for compensation related to recent and ongoing issues (that can be pragmatically addressed).

  5. It takes 2 parties to reconcile. Everything we offer is met with more demands and more attempts to make the rest of Australia guilty.
    As far as Im concerned the British should be saying sorry and making the compensation right. But even that will not ‘fix’ what is done. We ALL need to reconcile the past and MOVE ON. We are ALL Australians and identifying people by their race as deserving more (or less) is racism. Sure, help is due where help is due – but i am no less worthy of that help by being white. Nor do other people deserve a ‘sorry’ for past evils done to them any less just because they arent Aboriginal.
    PS, bring on a Australian Republic so we can be our own people.
    PPS, wearing a Southern Cross tattoo does not make you a nazi or a bogan or raciest – its a sign of pride which is lacking in Australia.

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