OBSERVATIONS FROM THE BARRICADES
On Australia Day morning I manned the barricades to keep vehicles out and merrymakers safe while participating in the Pearl Beach patriotic festivities. Celebrating what? The character of our celebrations are far removed from those of other ex-colonial nations, Canada, United States, Brazil, Argentina and New Zealand, (Australia Day Prequel).
Returning to the barricades, there was a stark difference in celebratory effusion between people who passed across my checkpoint. Almost without exception, New Australians of Arabic, African and southern European extraction waved flags and enthusiastically greeted me with “Happy Australia Day”. No doubt those from war torn, corrupt regimes would have much to celebrate. Conversely, almost without exception, long-domiciled Australians were less enthusiastic and a trifle reticent in their greeting. Perhaps a ‘life not meant to be easy’ is giving a lie to ‘Our Golden Soil and Wealth for Toil’ for too many of us. Question Time antics in the House does not inspire public confidence that Government policy will solve today’s problems.
PAYMENT OF RESPECT TO ALL AUSTRALIANS
It is right that at diverse meetings across this Land, Australians should pay respects to the First People to colonise Australia Felix, for example, the Gadigal people of the Sydney region and the Ngunnawal people around Canberra. Missing from these respects is a recognition that, wherever we are gathered, the Australian nation owes its prosperity, safety, freedom and culture to European settlers and pioneers who created the foundation for the Australia of today.
It is concerning that too many younger Australians, in their comfortable surrounds, are unaware of the debt they owe their forebears and other early settlers. Payment of respects to all Australian Pioneers might provide an ethos for Australia and provide the Nation with a focus for our National Day.
Australia is a nation of immigrants (convicts, settlers. Chinese miners, Ten Pound Poms, boat people). A pillar for social cohesion amongst the Australian nation can only be ‘One Law of the Land’, inviolate, absolute. Australia Day, at whatever future date, must celebrate the achievements of Australia as an Immigrant Nation. This omission could be considered as evidence of a Cultural Cringe since we do not honour the toil, hardship and achievement of the people who made Australia before the Second World War. Let us remember them on Australia Day and pay our respects to them more often than we do. Without the energy of new immigrants Australia, as a Middle Power, will inevitably wilt and decline.
OVER TO THE POLITICIANS!
In an ideal world the Federal Parliament would grasp the initiative to ensure Opening Ceremonies would continue to pay respects to Traditional Owners and Pioneer Immigrants who collectively laid the foundation for the Australia of today. This policy would provide a focus for Australia Day rather than the vacuous “Enjoy Australia Day any way you like”.