Australia Day is a true celebration of the positive

And attacks on it are just Leftist poison. What it celebrates is to the benefit of ALL Australians, including Aborigines. Sad that the Left have stirred up a few Aborigines to protest about it. Leftists have a yen for destruction and destroying a holiday that was widely enjoyed is a triumph to them

Far from the beginning of oppression and slavery on an idyllic continent, the first Australia Day marked the arrival of things previously unknown but devoutly to be wished: the rule of law, liberal institutions, science, markets, and the sacred notion of individual equality in rights and dignity.

This is what makes it truly a day to be celebrated by all Australians, regardless of whether their citizenship ceremony was last night or whether their ancestry in this country stretches back tens of thousands of years.

January 26 is not the anniversary of Britain’s claim of possession over Australia nor of the actual arrival of the First Fleet. But it does commemorate the first flag raising on Sydney Harbour and thus appropriately marks the birth of modern Australia.

To all those arguing for a different date or angsting over whether we should feel pride or shame every January 26, I say name a date that’s more suitable; or better yet study the real history of our country before falling for the cultural Marxist claptrap that British settlement was a disaster, especially for Indigenous people.

Our continent was never going to remain forever the preserve of a few hundred clans of hunter-gatherers. That’s not to disrespect the achievement of the Aboriginal people who had survived, ingeniously, for hundreds of generations in an often harsh environment. But the instant modernity erupted into an ancient land, life was going to change, in the short term, sometimes for the worse, with new diseases and new conflicts; but soon, for the better, with new learning, new opportunities and new protections especially for women and children.

The best Indigenous leaders, such as Jacinta Price and Warren Mundine, recognise this. Looking at the harshness of local life at the time, and at the competing colonial records of France, Spain, Holland, Portugal and Belgium, it’s hard not to conclude that British settlement, for all its occasional blemishes, was more of a deliverance than a curse.

The British government instructed governor Arthur Phillip to “live in amity” with the native people. Phillip himself, when speared at Manly Cove, put it down to a misunderstanding rather than launch a punitive expedition. Under governor Lachlan Macquarie, schools were opened for Aboriginal people and some received land grants. Early land grants often specified that the rights of local people to hunt, fish and camp should be respected. In 1838, after the notorious Myall Creek massacre, white men were hanged for the murder of blacks. When in 1894 in South Australia the right both to vote and to stand for parliament was finally given to women, in what was a world first, that included Aboriginal women too. Hence this notion that the lives of Indigenous people were uniquely or even especially harsh in early colonial Australia is simply not borne out by the facts.

That’s why, as a nation, regardless of our individual ancestry, we really do need to get over the epidemic of breast-beating that every year marks the lead-up to Australia Day. This year, it wasn’t just ultra-woke Tennis Australia that planned a pride day, a disabilities day, and a so-called First Nations day at the Australian Open, but nothing to mark Australia Day; Cricket Australia (before backflipping) announced it would not acknowledge Australia Day as such, rather it would ­acknowledge on the day that January 26 meant “different things to different people”; and Woolworths announced that it would no longer stock Australia Day merchandise, even though it’s only too happy to celebrate other dates such as Ramadan and Diwali. Worthies such as cricket captain Pat Cummins (no stranger to left-wing causes) weighed in and criticised the date, even though there’s no consensus on a suitable alternative, history cannot be rewritten, and most of the change-the-date brigade don’t actually want the date changed, they actually want Australia Day abolished because of their fundamental objection with any non-Aboriginal settlers on this continent.

Of course, Aboriginal people have sometimes been treated harshly in this country: subjected to “protection” regimes, for instance; and denied a clear federal right to vote until 1962; but contemporary Australia has never been less racist and more colourblind (as our immigration intake plus the slight over-representation of Aboriginal people in the current parliament attests) and is certainly far less race-conscious than countries such as China and Japan. That’s why, when it’s not a noxious mixture of ignorance and virtue-signalling, the current disdain for Australia Day manifests an ideological dislike of our country and its people that should not be pandered to if we are to avoid something akin to a collective ­national identity crisis. If last year’s resounding defeat of the voice referendum meant anything, it was that Australians dislike being guilted about our history and reject being divided on the basis of ancestry. Yet instead of accepting that they’d grievously misread the national mood, pro-voice entities (such as Woolies, which gave the Yes campaign $1.5m of shareholder money, and Cricket Australia, which publicly advocated for a Yes vote) have doubled down on their politically correct virtue-signalling.

There’s no sign that, post-voice, the educational institutions encouraging pupils to write letters of contrition for Aboriginal dispossession or to apologise for their white privilege are rethinking the damage they’re doing to youth mental health or to our long-term national unity. Although Anthony Albanese has said that he accepted the people’s vote, his government is still pursuing separatist local and regional voices, treaties, and so-called “truth telling” to rewrite our history from an activist perspective. He says he supports Australia Day and will personally participate in Australia Day events but his government removed the previous insistence that local councils hold citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day, which some 81 green-left ones have now duly cancelled. While maybe not personally opposing Australia Day, he’s certainly eroding it; and while claiming to support it, he’s green-lit all those who don’t.

As well, he’s enshrined the practice of never appearing before an Australian flag without the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags alongside it (as if the flags of some of us are coequal with the flag of all of us); and he’s entrenched the practice of never beginning an official event or official speech without an acknowledgment of country (as if particular parts of Australia belong to some of us rather than to all of us).

There’s a real opening here for a political leader to commit to ending the angst over our national day by enshrining it in legislation that’s harder-than-usual to change or even to put it in the Constitution. And to promise to have just one flag for one people. This wouldn’t be engaging in culture wars; rather it would be ending them in a way that polls show the vast majority of Australians want. If Peter Dutton were to announce this, building on his decision to oppose the voice while it was still apparently popular, he would cement his position as the national leader the quiet Australians have long been seeking. A country where an angry mob shouts “gas the Jews”, while ­important institutions snub the national day, really has let itself down.


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