“Chúng ta phải là một xứ sở duy nhất trên thế giới đánh dấu ngày quốc khánh của nó không phải bằng cách ăn mừng cái căn tính của nó mà bằng việc chất vấn nó. (We must be the only country in the world that marks its national day not by celebrating its identity, but by questioning it.” Ken Boundy
Như bản chất của cái Nhà nước hư cấu và cái chủ nghĩa quốc gia, nó thường được bịa đạt từ những điều vớ vẩn thậm chí tồi bại để thánh hóa một điều tưởng tượng để bó nhỏ óc con người và cai trị.- Đám Việt-bất-Thường có lịch sử một nữ quái vật đẻ 100 trứng và 18 gã vua sống 7-8 trăm tuổi! Tầm cỡ ngang ngửa giống dòi Do Thái trong Thánh Kinh Judaism!
Xã hội Úc hơn 200 năm qua được xào nấu như thế về chính sử hàng năm với nổ lực diệt chủng, bôi nhọ người Úc chính gốc và lâu đời nhất của lục địa này trong mục tiêu xóa mờ hình ảnh bóng dáng của họ.
-Nhân chủ đã tường trình vài lần trong các bài trước về tiến trình bôi nhọ diệt chủng miên tục chưa chấm dứt này.
Chính sử linh thiêng của Úc được đặt trên những dối trá hư cấu thật sự vớ vẩn và tồi bại hơn bất cứ “huyền thoại quốc gia dân tộc nào”.
1- Cái gọi là ngày Quốc khánh 26-01 hàng năm được “ăn mừng” để kỷ niệm ngày đầu tiên của đoàn tầu quân đội quan chức Anh chở tù nhân đến lục địa Úc (first fleet), năm 1788 -cướp đất và tiến hành tàn sát diệt chủng người dân bản xứ ở đây người Aborigines.
2-Ngày “linh thiêng” tưởng nhớ quân đội chiến sĩ Úc (ANZAC days) là ngàty tuởng niệm đám người Úc gốc tù nhân Anh đi đánh thuê cho đế quốc Anh, giết người hiếp dâm, hôi của, ăn chạy, và làm bia đạn cho mẫu quốc Anh, tàn sát người dân và bị tàn sát trong đệ nhất thế chiến tạiThổ nhĩ kỳ- Gallipoli. Một ký giả Úc đã nói thật về hành xử “anh hùng mã thượng” của lính Anh-Úc, của cuộc chiến “thần thánh” trong cái ngày ANZAC này và bị thanh trừng đuổi việc! The New Australian Idols: Was Scott McIntyre Sacked.
Nhóm văn nghệ sĩ đối kháng lại tiến trình này làm khá nhiều phim về cái gọi là “ANZAC linh thiêng” xiển dương bạo lực ngu xuẩn của quân đội và thánh hóa chiến tranh dơ bẩn này- chứ không chỉ riêng ký giả McEntyre của SBS.
3- Bài nhạc “quốc hồn” của Úc Waltzingh Matilda- là bài dân ca nói về một tên ăn trộm cừu bị rượt bắt rồi nhảy sông tự tử! Tác giả của bản nhạc này không hẳn đã là “Úc” và ngay cái bản quyền bản nhạc này hiện nay cũng không thuộc của Úc nữa….Waltzing Matilda—-The real story: AB Paterson and ‘Waltzing Matilda —Roger Clarke’s ‘The Writing of Waltzing Matilda’
Ba điều vừa vớ vẩn vừa tồi bại đã được chủ nghĩa nhà nước quốc gia thánh hóa hư cấu để thành cái gọi là “căn tính, bản sắc Úc”
Nhiều người, nhất là trong thế hệ mới, họ dần nhận ra cái trò dơ bẩn tồi bại này của chủ nghĩa quốc gia Úc- Nếu chưa hiểu được nỗi đau và mất mát của người bản xứ Aborigines và bản chất tồi bại của định chế nhà nước.. thì họ cũng chỉ coi cái ngày “quốc khánh” này như một ngày nghỉ ngơi và có lương. Còn lại, thiểu số hơn, họ hiểu ra và đến cùng các nhóm đối kháng chung với người bản xứ Aborigines để diễn thuyết tố cáo tôi ác nhà nước Úc và biểu tình.
Đó là lý do tiến trình củng cố “bản sắc Úc” dựa trên 3 sự kiện vớ vẩn bẩn thỉu kia được tiến hành rầm rộ, nhất là từ hơn 2 thập niên qua.
Nó nhạt dần dù vẫn có những thành công nhất định nhờ đám di dân vô tâm như đám “đậu phọng đỏ”- trong đầu không có gì ngoài ăn uống tuân lệnh “nhà nước”, nhưng không chừa một kẽ hở nào để làm tiền và “nhớ tổ tiên giống dòi”
John Pilger là người ký giả độc lập của Úc duy nhất miên tục và bền bỉ tường trình đánh thức mọi người về tiến trình “xóa sổ” lịch sử Aborigines này của bọn tập đoàn quyền lực tại Úc.
Australia’s Day for Secrets, Flags and Cowards
By John Pilger
January 22, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – – On 26 January, one of the saddest days in human history will be celebrated in Australia. It will be “a day for families”, say the newspapers owned by Rupert Murdoch. Flags will be dispensed at street corners and displayed on funny hats. People will say incessantly how proud they are.
For many, there is relief and gratitude. In my lifetime, non-indigenous Australia has changed from an Anglo-Irish society to one of the most ethnically diverse on earth. Those we used to call “New Australians” often choose 26 January, “Australia Day”, to be sworn in as citizens. The ceremonies can be touching. Watch the faces from the Middle East and understand why they clench their new flag.
It was sunrise on 26 January so many years ago when I stood with Indigenous and non Indigenous Australians and threw wreaths into Sydney Harbour. We had climbed down to one of the perfect sandy coves where others had stood as silhouettes, watching as the ships of Britain’s “First Fleet” dropped anchor on 26 January, 1788. This was the moment the only island continent on earth was taken from its inhabitants; the euphemism was “settled”. It was, wrote Henry Reynolds, one of few honest Australian historians, one of the greatest land grabs in world history. He described the slaughter that followed as “a whispering in our hearts”.
The original Australians are the oldest human presence. To the European invaders, they did not exist because their continent had been declared terra nullius: empty land. To justify this fiction, mass murder was ordained. In 1838, the Sydney Monitor reported: “It was resolved to exterminate the whole race of blacks in that quarter.” This referred to the Darug people who lived along the great Hawkesbury River not far from Sydney. With remarkable ingenuity and without guns, they fought an epic resistance that remains almost a national secret. In a land littered with cenotaphs honouring Australia’s settler dead in mostly imperial wars, not one stands for those warriors who fought and fell defending Australia.
This truth has no place in the Australian consciousness. Among settler nations with indigenous populations, apart from a facile “apology” in 2008, only Australia has refused to come to terms with the shame of its colonial past. A Hollywood film, Soldier Blue, in 1970 famously inverted racial stereotypes and gave Americans a glimpse of the genocide in their own mythical “settlement”. Almost half a century later, it is fair to say an equivalent film would never be made in Australia.
In 2014, when my own film, Utopia, which told the story of the Australian genocide, sought a local distributor, I was advised by a luminary in the business: “No way I could distribute this. The audiences wouldn’t accept it.”
He was wrong – up to a point. When Utopia opened in Sydney a few days before 26 January, under the stars on vacant land in an Indigenous inner-city area known as The Block, more than 4,000 people came, the majority non-Indigenous. Many had travelled from right across the continent. Indigenous leaders who had appeared in the film stood in front of the screen and spoke in “language”: their own. Nothing like it had happened before. Yet, there was no press. For the wider community, it did not happen. Australia is a murdochracy, dominated by the ethos of a man who swapped his nationality for the Fox Network in the US.
The star Indigenous AFL footballer Adam Goodes wrote movingly to the Sydney Morning Herald demanding that “the silence is broken”. “Imagine,” he wrote, “watching a film that tells the truth about the terrible injustices committed against your people, a film that reveals how Europeans, and the governments that have run our country, have raped, killed and stolen from your people for their own benefit.
“Now imagine how it feels when the people who benefited most from those rapes, those killings and that theft – the people in whose name the oppression was done – turn away in disgust when someone seeks to expose it.”
Goodes himself had already broken a silence when he stood against racist abuse thrown at him and other Indigenous sportspeople. This courageous, talented man retired from football last year as if under a cloud – with, wrote one commentator, “the sporting nation divided about him”. In Australia, it is respectable to be “divided” on opposing racism.
On Australia Day 2016 – Indigenous people prefer Invasion Day or Survival Day – there will be no acknowledgement that Australia’s uniqueness is its first people, along with an ingrained colonial mentality that ought to be an abiding embarrassment in an independent nation. This mentality is expressed in a variety of ways, from unrelenting political grovelling at the knee of a rapacious United States to an almost casual contempt for Indigenous Australians, an echo of “kaffir” – abusing South Africans.
Apartheid runs through Australian society. Within a short flight from Sydney, Indigenous people live the shortest of lives. Men are often dead before they reach 45. They die from Dickensian diseases, such as rheumatic heart disease. Children go blind from trachoma, and deaf from otitis media, diseases of poverty. A doctor told me, “I wanted to give a patient an anti-inflammatory for an infection that would have been preventable if living conditions were better, but I couldn’t treat her because she didn’t have enough food to eat and couldn’t ingest the tablets. I feel sometimes as if I’m dealing with similar conditions as the English working class of the beginning of the industrial revolution.”
The racism that allows this in one of the most privileged societies on earth runs deep. In the 1920s, a “Protector of Aborigines” oversaw the theft of mixed race children with the justification of “breeding out the colour”. Today, record numbers of Indigenous children are removed from their homes and many never see their families again. On 11 February, an inspiring group called Grandmothers Against Removals will lead a march on Federal Parliament in Canberra, demanding the return of the stolen children.
Australia is the envy of European governments now fencing in their once-open borders while beckoning fascism, as in Hungary. Refugees who dare set sail for Australia in overcrowded boats have long been treated as criminals, along with the “smugglers” whose hyped notoriety is used by the Australian media to distract from the immorality and criminality of their own government. The refugees are confined behind barbed wire on average for well over a year, some indefinitely, in barbaric conditions that have led to self-harm, murder, suicide and mental illness. Children have not been spared. An Australian Gulag run by sinister private security firms includes concentration camps on the remote Pacific islands of Manus and Nauru. People often have no idea when they might be freed, if at all.
The Australian military – whose derring-do is the subject of uncritical tomes that fill the shelves of airport bookstalls – has played an important part in “turning back the boats” of refugees fleeing wars, such as in Iraq, launched and prolonged by the Americans and their Australian mercenaries. No irony, let alone responsibility, is acknowledged in this cowardly role.
On this Australia Day, the “pride of the services” will be on display. This pride extends to the Australian Immigration Department, which commits people to its Gulag for “offshore processing”, often arbitrarily, leaving them to grieve and despair and rot. Last week it was announced that Immigration officials had spent $400,000 on medals which they will award their heroic selves. Put out more flags.
Follow John Pilger on Twitter @johnpilger & on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pilgerwebsite –http://johnpilger.com
– On January 26, Indigenous Australians and their supporters will march from The Block in Redfern, Sydney, to the Sydney Town Hall. The march will begin at 10am.
– On Thursday February 11, Grandmothers Against Removals will address a rally in Canberra. This will start at 12 noon at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, then march to Parliament House.
Australia & New Zealand: The imperialist reality behind ANZAC myth (updated 2015)
Film by John Rainford and Peter Ewer
April 24, 2015 — Green Left TV/Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — As the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC’s ill-fated Gallipoli campaign approaches, this timely short film (above) cuts through the myth making, and shows with damning facts how lives were used as fodder as strategic and tactical blunders led to the slaughter of so many.
It reveals the context behind the Gallipoli campaign – a war fought because the world had been cut up into colonies by the major powers who were now battling for the spoils.
The film shows exactly why the terrible ANZAC Cove campaign should never be forgotten — and the crimes of the warmongers responsible never forgiven.
ANZACs pose in front of the Sphinx while on leave during WWI.
By Phil Shannon
What’s Wrong With Anzac? The Militarisation of Australian History
By Marilyn Lake & Henry Reynolds
UNSW Press, 2010, 183 pages
Green Left Weekly — On April 25 in Australia, it is not humanly possible to escape the slouch hats, the Dawn Service, the Last Post, the khaki uniforms and the military ceremonies endlessly recycled in the establishment media. The cult of Anzac Day is pervasive, the culture of war unavoidable.
Immensely welcome, then, is What’s Wrong with Anzac? by Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds, which takes a dissenting look at the Anzac Day tradition.
The legend is that the landing by the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli in 1915, despite ending in defeat, was the supreme test of manhood and nationhood, which Australia passed. Anzac Day is remorselessly promoted as Australia’s true national day and celebrated with religious fervour.
The problems with this national creation myth are many, however. Unlike a revolutionary war of independence, the World War I Anzac landing was part of the Dardanelles campaign instigated by British War Minister Winston Churchill, at the request of the autocratic Russian Tsar, to open a new front against Germany.
It was an invasion, undertaken on behalf of the “mother country”, with “death and violence inflicted in an imperial cause”.
The Anzac cause has been yoked to “defending freedom and democracy” but this is “a marketing slogan” aimed at selling subsequent wars of aggression involving Australia — in Korea, Malaya, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan.
Anzac Day is now depoliticised, reduced to a sentimental story of courage, mateship and the sacrifice of innocent young men rather than a horrendous display of “aggression, conformity and obedience to orders and a capacity to kill people”.
A British war correspondent who was at Gallipoli, Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett, celebrated this latter reality, praising the Anzacs’ enthusiasm for bayoneting Turks when their “blood was up”.
The Anzac tradition is an “imperialist, masculine, militarist” one but such dissent is regarded as treason and disrespectful of the Australian soldiers who died and of those serving in current wars.
With such reasoning, winning support for new wars is thus made easier, especially when the slouch hats are in the field. The Anzac-focused proliferation of military histories, commemorative days and war memorials has “naturalised war”, and has helped to silence debate about current and future wars.
Anzac is all about promoting the “importance of war in the life of the nation”, a lesson passed onto our children courtesy of an offensive by recent Australian governments, led by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs with its budget for its schools program. School children are now “immersed in nationalist sentiment” rather than historical understanding.
Nationalism is a key Anzac value, the Australian flag an inseparable accessory. War, say the mythologists, will unite the country. The Prussian militarist and historian, Heinrich von Treitschke, said war united boss and worker across class lines in a common national purpose — war, “with all its sternness and roughness, also weaves a bond of love between men, since here all class distinctions vanish, and the risk of death knits man to man”.
When the worker lays down with the capitalist, there can only be one winner. Anzac Day helps the rich get richer by blurring competing class identities and interests.
For the approved gospel of Anzac to be effective, certain troublesome elements of Anzac history have had to be excised — those Gallipoli veterans, for example, who returned disgusted with war and who refused to attend Anzac ceremonies. Their voice is rarely heard.
The political division over the unpopular first World War is also rarely acknowledged. Wartime conscription was twice rejected by voters and, in the 1920s, Armistice Day became an occasion for well-attended peace rallies. University students protested the Vietnam War in the 1960s using Anzac Day as a springboard and feminists protested rape in war on the holy day.
In 1973, reflecting the anti-militarist feeling of the time, the Australian Labor Party national conference even discussed a proposal to drop Anzac Day in its current form and replace it with a day of peace (they didn’t, of course, and recently deposed Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd intoned that Gallipoli is “part of our national identity” and that he was “absolutely proud of it”).
The heightened levels of Anzac obsession marginalise Australia’s long anti-war tradition and swamp civil and political values of equality and social justice, which have some claim to have been nation-defining, from early women’s suffrage to the welfare state.
Another nation-making event — the dispossession of Aboriginal Australia — is also bulldozed aside by the Anzac myth. Aboriginal blood spilt in the frontier wars is not the right kind to be commemorated.
The historians contributing to the book try to salvage Australia’s other histories from the smothering embrace of the military one. Too much history now ties together the commemoration of the war dead with the writing of history, and merges military history with family history, thus encouraging new generations, remote from the horrors of war, to identify with Australia’s military past and present.
Some Anzac apologists ritually claim to condemn war, say the authors, but the symbols and rhetoric point in the opposite direction — that war is good for you, as a person and a nation. Wilfred Owen, the anti-war poet, called this “the old lie”. Anzac Day is a big part of that old lie.
[This review first appeared in Green Left Weekly, Australia’s leading socialist newspaper, on June 26, 2010.]
Matt McCarten: ANZAC story a sordid tale of world domination and death
By Matt McCarten
April 29, 2007 — NZ Herald — When I was a kid at primary school in the 1960s, the whole school would get called out on Anzac Day and lined up to hear old geezers talking about Gallipoli. It seemed like we stood wilting for hours in the hot sun hearing how “our boys” died for King and Country. I remember thinking uncharitably that when all the old soldiers died of old age we wouldn’t have to keep doing this every year. The best part was hearing the bugle which signalled the parade was over and we could troop back to class.
Now, all the Great War veterans are indeed dead but it seems Anzac ceremonies have only got stronger. A lot has been made about the younger generations “taking the torch” from their great-grandparents and taking a day out to remember their sacrifice. Some right-wing politicians have got so swept up in this reverence that they are suggesting we should make Anzac Day our national day.
I suppose the myth of Waitangi Day – celebrating the signing of a treaty between Maori and the British proclaiming partnership and equality for all – doesn’t wash as well as it used to. So, having another day to celebrate our nationhood is rather attractive.
But the Anzac Day story is just another myth that makes us feel warm inside. The truth behind Anzac Day is dirty and sordid.
The New Zealand ruling establishment last century couldn’t wait to snap to attention to support Imperial Britain. In 1900, in New Zealand’s first imperialist adventure, they sent their sons off to South Africa to kill the Boers who were fighting an independence war against Britain. New Zealand troops were part of the invading army which set up concentration camps that caused the deaths of thousands of women and children. When the call came again from Mother England to fight the Germans, we couldn’t volunteer our sons fast enough.
Ordinary New Zealanders who declined to slaughter other human beings on behalf of European feudal rulers were imprisoned. Some were even shipped off to war anyway.
The combining of Australian and New Zealand soldiers into the same army corps was a decision made in England. Anzacs were sent to the French trenches to replace the hundreds of thousands of young Europeans already slaughtered there. But on the way there, the British Generals let the colonials in on their true destination – Gallipoli.
Trench warfare in France and Belgium is what most of the world remembers about World War I. The purpose of the war was which European countries would win global domination. The war was fought to get control of the collapsing Ottoman Empire; an empire including most of what we call the Middle East. Why? Because that’s where the oil was. It seems nothing much has changed in 100 years. Western meddling in the Middle East has a long and tragic history.
So the British sent the Anzacs, with hundreds of thousands of other allied armies, to invade Turkey. Of course, as we know, it was a complete disaster, and “Little Johnnie Turk” kicked our butt hard. Eventually our soldiers slunk off to France where the incompetent members of the British ruling class continued to send them to pointless deaths. In fact, New Zealanders were among the top casualties per head of population.
When our politicians lay claim to the sacrifice and bravery of our soldiers on Anzac Day, let’s not forget most of these men didn’t have much choice. New Zealand troops were a conscripted army and our then government allowed British firing squads to execute New Zealanders who wouldn’t fight. Many members of the first Labour Cabinet in 1935 actively opposed this war and went to jail for it. Several prominent Maori leaders were also imprisoned because they actively campaigned to stop Maori being conscripted. Much of the bravery shown was by people who refused to join this insanity and suffered mightily for it. It’s a reflection of the real mood of New Zealanders when, after the war, they elected these war opponents to Government.
Even the folklore of Gallipoli of Kiwi and Aussie mateship didn’t become part of the agreed story until after the war. After all, our political masters needed New Zealanders to think something good had come out of Gallipoli and to feel better about allowing stupid Brits to get us killed invading someone else’s country.
In the end, our sacrifice helped our colonial masters come out of the war reasonably well. Britain and France divided the Middle East up between them into specially designed new colonies. New puppet rulers were then imposed on the local inhabitants once they had signed oil deals with the victors. Almost all the current mess between rival communities in the Middle East can be tracked back to this point. The sad thing is, Britain and the US are making the same mistakes that were made 100 years ago.
Don’t get me wrong though. Remembering the fallen in pointless wars is a good thing. I recommend a good dose of Wilfred Owens’ poems to really honour the dead and the fruitlessness of war rather than scripted platitudes of politicians we get on Anzac Day.
If we really take the Anzac message seriously we should be campaigning to get Western troops, including ours, out of the Middle East now. Ninety years ago we supported an invasion of the Middle East for oil. We still are.
Lest we forget? Get real; we never got the story correct first time.
“We must be the only country in the world that marks its national day not by celebrating its identity, but by questioning it.” Ken Boundy
Australia Day is arguably the most unique national day in the world because, rather than unite, it seems to divide Australians into different viewpoints. It is celebrated on January 26, which is the anniversary of the arrival of the first fleet of criminals in 1788. Ironically, Australian governments have been reluctant to acknowledge this history with any prescriptive symbolism or speeches. Without any prescriptive symbolism, the majority of Australians just use the day to have a barbeque or do some other pastime that takes advantage of the great things about the Australian lifestyle.
While the lack of prescription is embraced by some, it concerns the more sombre minded Australians who have interpreted it to mean that the government is celebrating the invasion of Australia and the dispossession of Aborigines. These Australians usually use the day to participate in an Aboriginal protest march or call for the date to be changed. Typical views include:
” The 26th of January is an inappropriate date for Australia Day as it merely represents the anniversary of the arrival of the British to establish the penal colony of New South Wales. It does not represent of birth of a nation and disengages the aboriginal and non-British communities from their sense of involvement in nationhood. It also sends the wrong message to our Asian neighbours, reminding them of our European roots.” Daniel Bryant
” Instead of reciting the oath on Australia day, which commemorates the founding of a prison in Sydney, why don’t we Victorians recite the oath on the anniversary of the laying of the first stone of Pentridge Prison? ” Tobin Maker
“Australia Day should be changed to a more suitable date, rather than the one that not only insults the rightful owners of this land, our indigenous peoples, but conveniently disregards the non-White (sic) migrants.” Australia Day = Shame Day
“Nature and diversity of culture for me is Australias(sic) beauty. I wonder how Aboriginal people would view this lunacy.” Michele Walker
(From the Age Thursday January 16, 2003 )
Although Australia Day has virtually no symbolic meaning today, its origins can be traced to a desire for egalitarianism that much of the world has strived for and which arguably no country has achieved as successfully as Australia. For Convicts, January 26 1788 was not a happy time. It marked the establishment of a penal colony where they suffered some of the worst human rights violations that the world had even seen. Women were pack raped by officers on transport ships and then assigned to free settlers as if cattle. Men were flogged until their backbones were exposed to the flies. Despite these hardships, or perhaps because of them, in 1808 emancipated Convicts used January 26 as a date to organise great parties to celebrate the land they lived in. In a way, the parties celebrated their survival. Although the more “reputable” members of colonial society weren’t too keen on putting the old ball and chain on their legs in tribute to the founding fathers and laying down in a sexual pose in tribute to the mothers, they just couldn’t say no to a great party.
As the parties grew in size, emancipists and their children infused them with political edge as they campaigned to have the same rights as free British migrants. In 1818, their cause was embraced by Governor Lachlan Macquarie, who acknowledged the day with its first official celebration of what was then known as Foundation Day. Macquarie declared that the day would be a holiday for all government workers, granting each an extra allowance of “one pound of fresh meat”, and that there should be a 30 gun salute at Dawes Point – one for each year that the colony had existed.
By 1888, all Australian colonies bar South Australia (which prided itself on its Convict free status) were celebrating Foundation Day or Anniversary Day.
In 1935, Anniversary Day officially became known as Australia Day and was promoted as a day for national unity. Of course, the small issue of Convicts still proved somewhat problematic when it came to acknowledging and celebrating the history. The solution was to simply erase them from history. For example, at a 1938 re-enactment of the first fleet’s arrival, there were Aborigines and British soldiers but no Convicts.
The Founding of Australia  by Algernon Talmadge. Some groups are not represented
By the time of the 1988 Bicentennial, the policy of ignoring history while celebrating history was seriously offending Aboriginal groups along with white activists wanting to support Aboriginal groups. Large scale protest marches were organised to communicate their perspective that Australia Day should be seen as Invasion Day or Survival Day. Basically, by trying hard not to offend with any prescriptive meaning or acknowledgement of the past, governments had offended many. Arguably, if governments had been more prone to celebrate the egalitarian politics that initiated the first Australia Days then they might have found that the day would be more palatable. In addition, if governments acknowledged the human tragedy of the First Fleet, then instead of Australia Day being interpreted as a celebration of that tragedy, it could be an opportunity to reflect upon how far Australia has come and perhaps how far it still has to go. Furthermore, it would be more akin to Anzac Day, which is likewise built on the anniversary of a tradegy.
Australian Bicentennial 1988 TV Commercial – lots of singing and bad fashion sense infront a Uluru but no clear message about what is being celebrated.
Complicating matters for those Australians unhappy with the date of Australia Day is that the alternative dates that they suggest really go down like a lead balloon. One of these dates is January 1, which is the anniversary of the first sitting of federal parliament. Such suggestions have hit a wall because it is generally accepted that the only thing worse than having a Convict in your ancestry is having a politician. In any case, it is already a holiday and one that typically involves sleeping off a hangover.
Another suggested date is December 3, the anniversary of the Eureka Stockade. The main problem with this idea is that the Eureka Stockade has some associations with unionism and white supremacy. Such associations tend to divide Australians rather than unite them. While a barbeque or musical festival may not be sombre, at least they are superior to some kind of political argument over workers rights or genetic superiority.
In many ways, the date of Australia Day is great precisely because not everyone feels the same way about it. It produces what has been referred to as opal definition of who Australians are. Like an opal, the date diffracts light to produce a spectrum of colours. While this bothers those who want unity, conformity, morality and something to salute, it gives individual Australians the freedom to really define what Australia means to them.
Editorial – The Australian January 26, 2009
Just as critics argue that Australia Day celebrates a state and society that have done Aborigines many wrongs, others argue there is nothing uniquely Australian to celebrate, on this or another day. Certainly, there is no checklist of chants and speeches that are part of all our Australia Day celebrations. There are no rituals that everybody undertakes. People will celebrate the day in parks all over the country, eating as many dishes as there are countries from which we come. Some will watch cricket, others will wonder why people care about the game. Most will surf in their Speedos but many young women will laugh in the waves, much more modestly attired. Very few of them, first and fifth generation alike, will be able to articulate anything about why we should celebrate Australia, other than that it is home. And that is the point. Australia is a nation united by the idea that all are welcome who want to call the country home. Inevitably, this assumption is abused by people intent on imposing their version of how the country should be, some whose families have been here for many generations and others but one. We saw the disgraceful outcome of these attitudes in the circumstances surrounding the December 2005 Cronulla riot. But Australia has welcomed nearly seven million migrants since 1945, demonstrating that the vast majority of us have an expansive idea of who can be included among “all” Australians.
Questions to think about
Australia Day in an international context
- Research the national days of the following countries: Papua New Guinea, United States, China, Canada.
- What dates are the national days celebrated on?
- What is the significance of each date?
- What is customary to do on these days in each country?
- How are the customs different from Australia?
Read the following paragraph published in the Bulletin, 21 Jan 1888 :
‘ Australia began her political history as a crouching serf kept in subjection by the whip of a ruffian gaoler, and her progress, so far, consists merely in a change of masters. Instead of a foreign slave-driver, she has a foreign admiral; the loud-mouthed tyrant has given place to the suave hireling in uniform; but when the day comes to claim their independence the new ruler will probably prove more dangerous and more formidable that the old.’ Rather than ‘the day we were lagged’, Australia’s national day should be December 3, the anniversary of the Eureka rebellion, ‘the day that Australia set her teeth in the face of the British Lion’.
- Do you think December 3 would be a superior date for Australia Day?
- Can you think of any other dates that would be superior? If so, what would make them superior?
- What should Australians do on Australia Day? Why should they do this?
Invasion Day or Foundation Day
- Define the meaning of the word “settling.”
- Define the meaning of the word “invasion.”
- Are there any ramifications flowing from defining it as a day of invasion as opposed to a day of settling?
- Could the Convict population be defined as invaders considering that they were not part of the military, did not carry weapons and did not come to Australia of their own free will?
- An officer of the First Fleet, Watkin Tench, wrote, ” During the intervals of duty, our greatest source of entertainment now lay in cultivating the acquaintance of our new friends, the natives.” Why might the guards of a Convict population have had a vested interest in maintaining the acquantance with the natives?
- Some Aborigines have referred to the people of the first fleet as the first boatpeople. Would Boatpeople Day be more appropriate term than Invasion Day?