Reflection Day 26th January - it's time
a day for all Australians
I have been a little introspective of late, which usually happens to me when a subject of real importance is being discussed socially. Is this happening a lot more lately or is that just that I am getting older?! Actually just what do I think about Australia Day? I have been fortunate to have listened to many wide-ranging opinions from members of the community. Every person's opinion should be regarded as valid. Not every Nation however has a national day. Here is a proposal that I would like to put forward to the Australian public regarding the debate that arises every year in the lead up to Australia Day.
The argument for and against changing the date I feel, will
continue to go around and around on an annual basis unless a well
thought out and brainstormed idea is acted upon at all levels of the community and government. How on earth will twenty-plus million people agree on which day?
The issue is intrinsically complex and I feel every one of us is entitled to have their opinions heard without judgement, but perhaps it’s time to be more forward thinking. I believe the answer comes down to identity and heritage. Yes, let’s look back for a bit before we look forward more positively. I don’t believe you can fully understand the complexity of the Australia Day issue unless you look back at one's family. Identify yourself, think about it and ask yourself “am I an Australian?” “do I identify with any other nationality outside Australia’s jurisdiction?” Or perhaps even ask yourself "do I want really to be an Australian?” Then I believe we can move forward.
Just as we have very recently legislated to change the wording of Advance Australia Fair to “we are one and free”, then surely we can legislate to change the title “Australia Day”, though not the date. The 26th January should be a day of reflection for all Australians. It is actually the date that is the source of all the debate. Yep the day Captain Cook planted the flag at what is now known as Botany Bay … terra nullius … while those already on the shore looked on. We all know the enormity of Australia’s Indigenous Peoples history and what followed. I hasten to add that can’t be dealt with in a few lines of writing.
From our earliest years in education we must learn about, reflect upon and acknowledge our past. Such education is not available to so many around the world. As Australians we are very privileged and fortunate however there are parts of Australian society which through no fault of their own are definitely not as privileged or fortunate. So it is time for those privileged Australians to do something about it.
Surely all Australians should be able go forward as “one”, as
the newly amended Advance Australia Fair states. I believe changing the existing Australia Day to become a national Reflection
Day for all Australians would be an important step of the many we must
take towards true reconciliation.