What Does It Really Mean?


WARNING:  Political opinion ahead.

Today, January 26th, is a public holiday designated as Australia Day.  Two years ago I wrote this post and it is equally as relevant as when I wrote it.

We have been to a barbecue with friends and neighbours which was pleasant and on any other day would have been just that – a barbecue with friends.  Because it is deemed to be Australia Day was I celebrating the invasion of this country and the declaration of the colony of New South Wales?  I do not believe that this is necessarily the case.

Map of AustraliaI  am grateful to to have been born in this country and look forward to the future in the hope that one day we will know what it is to have a truly inclusive society – one which includes all of our citizens from the original residents to the newest arrivals.

As always, the debate has been raised over the spectre of Australia becoming a republic, the relevance of our flag and the national anthem.  I have read many and varied opinions on these topics today and I will not bore you with some of the drivel which has been written.

A reasoned conversation to discuss and choose a day of significance to all would be an excellent first step in creating an inclusive culture in this country.  The anniversary of constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians could be an appropriate day for all Australians to be able to celebrate and be grateful for all that this country has to offer.  I hope and pray that this will soon become a reality.

Meanwhile, Mr Abbott has surpassed himself with the announcement of two new knights in the Australia Day honours list.  Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was named as a Knight of the Order of Australia.  As if it was not bad enough that Mr Abbott re-introduced the honours of Knights and Dames of the Order of Australia last year, 26 years after the abolition of these anachronistic titles, he has now awarded one to the consort of a foreign monarch.  I have nothing personal against Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II or the House of Windsor but I cannot fathom this choice.  Decisions such as this are divisive and do nothing to contribute to a modern, forward-thinking and inclusive Australia.

Today is not a day for looking backwards or resorting to out-dated practices.  Let us move forward and work towards creating a better place for all of our children and future generations.

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