22 January, 2010

Australia Day? Invasion Day? What a Load of Jingoistic Crap

A son of a German shoves a Union Jack on the shores of Botany Bay, proclaiming that a terra nullus is now the property of a King George III, whom is completely mad from the hereditary disease porphyria and is not English but German, during a time of malcontent by those the New World (American) colonies.  How is this a day for Australia, let alone representative of England’s expanding empire?

It reminds me of an Episode of Blackadder Goes Forth (General Hospital), where Capt. Blackadder is tasked to root out a German spy in a WWI field hospital: having tied Capt. Darling to a chair Blackadder interrogates, and Darling finally cracks under the pressure “I’m as British as Queen Victoria!” to which Blackadder attacks with “You mean your father's German, you're half German and you married a German?!”

I’m not anti-German or anti-British or even anti-Calathumpian.  The point is how ridiculous that Australia Day is about the establishment of the Botany Bay Colony (NSW), which has nothing to do with South Australia, Tasmania or Western Australia, and Australians in general.  Particularly immigrants (aren’t we all?) and indigenous peoples.  That doesn't leave very many Australian Citizens left.

Surely this artificial date, linked to firing a few muskets to the strains of God Save The King, is not appropriate for now let alone pre-Federation.

Perhaps a better date is when the Premiers of each colony first sat together and, with the “mother country” (English or German?) agreed on the referendum that would put our nation on the path of a successful Federation, remembering that both Western Australia and South Australia both had universal suffrage - for non-indigenous peoples - for those aged 21 and over?  A second date could be set aside to celebrate the successful referendum in which indigenous peoples won the right to be recognised as people with the same rights as citizens and thus given the vote.

Perhaps the real “Australia Day”, then, should be 2nd March to reflect the first day of the meeting of all Colonies to push for Federalism.
In the same way, 26th August should mark “Vincent Lingiari Day”: the walk off by Aboriginal stockmen from Wave Hill, which precipitated the overwhelmingly successful 1967 referendum which removed the power of the Commonwealth government as to how indigenous people could be treated.  (Contrary to popular belief, in some states indigenous peoples did have citizenship and were allowed to vote in state elections.)

As for the current “Australia Day”, it’s time to let go.  Unless you are a New South Welsh man or woman, and even then it would be better to rename it as "Foundation Day, NSW".


  1. Maybe when we become a republic, we can use that day.

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