Australia Day, Invasion Day

Australia Day

Isn’t today’s Google Doodle beautiful?

For its 2015 Doodle 4 Google competition, Google asked Aussie kids, in years 1-10 to draw a doodle based on the theme “If I could travel back in time I would…” Out of more than 24,000 submissions, this is the National Winner. It’s called Stolen Dreaming by Ineka Voigt of Canberra High School, ACT.

If I could travel back in time I would reunite mother and child. A weeping mother sits in an ochre desert, dreaming of her children and a life that never was… all that remains is red sand, tears and the whispers of her stolen dreamtime.

Today is Australia Day, the official National Day, a public holiday that marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British Ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the Flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip.

Some Aussies say the purpose of this day is to celebrate the best of Australia and that it reflects the diverse society and landscape of the nation. The day is said to be marked  by community and family events, reflections on Australian history, official community awards, and citizenship ceremonies. The Australian of the Year Awards celebrate the achievement and contribution of leading citizens. This year, the honour goes to  former Lieutenant-General David Morrison for his commitment to gender equality, diversity and inclusion.

That’s all fine and well, but they should’ve picked another date. For Aboriginal people, 26 January 1788 is not a day to reflect upon with pride. It is the day their genocide began.

For many, Australia Day is just another day to barbecue and get tanked while wearing the Australian flag like a cape. You’ll see the worst displays of jingoism on Australia Day. And Aboriginal people, who are not even constitutionally recognised, are supposed to be okay with this.

Some Australians say Aboriginal people should get over it and move on. If the government took your house, how long would it take for you to get over it? If the government took your children, how long would it take for you to get over it?

This didn’t happen thousands or hundreds of years ago. It’s still happening today. Aboriginal people continue to be subject to institutional racism and paternalistic government policies. The result is that Aboriginal people have poorer health, lower education, greater problems with alcohol abuse, earn less, are at greater risk for self-harm and suicide, and die sooner than non-Indigenous persons. It’s no wonder some Aboriginal people call today Survival Day.

If you haven’t already seen it, I encourage you to watch Stan Grant’s outstanding anti-racism speech. Grant is a journalist and Aboriginal man.

Residents whose homes were being compulsorily acquired for the scrapped East West Link were outraged at the government. Where were all the White people telling them to get over it and move on?

When a local council cut down her trees for safety reasons, an Adelaide woman said, “It’s vandalism, murder and council slaughter. It’s like blood has been poured all over my babies.” This story was considered newsworthy. Where were all the White people telling her to calm down?

The Facebook Page Boycott Halal in Australia has 87k+ likes. These ignorant people are hurting Aussies businesses, but where are all the White people telling them to calm down, get over it, and move on?

remote aboriginal communities

Why is it that only White people are entitled to hold on to their anger righteously and indefinitely? Having your fruit trees cut down and seeing a halal label on Vegemite is not actually a crisis. The forced closure of remote Aboriginal communities is.

I would love to celebrate Australia Day, but I won’t, not until Australia Day truly embraces all Australians.

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One Comment

  1. Surely this year it will happen. The protests are getting louder, and it would be so simple to do. Are there really any Australians who want to hang on to this date? The excuse that we don’t know what other date to choose us feeble.

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