On 26 January, I went to Canada Bay Council’s citizenship ceremony in Rhodes. Then I went to the Invasion Day rally and march. I think Australia Day could represent a great way to celebrate all the good things Australians have to offer and enjoy. Of course, the current date doesn’t work for Indigenous Australians, so we need to change it.
Many people say that, by itself, changing the date will not be enough. That’s true. We also need to do more to respect Aboriginal people through: 1) coming to terms with past history, and 2) improving action on practical issues affecting them. In regard to the first point, we Australians as a nation have never fully dealt with our history. By coming to terms with Aboriginal culture and rights, Australians could grasp a larger view of who we are as a nation. Aboriginal culture has a lot of wisdom that our money-obsessed material culture could learn from. But the widespread denial of negative aspects of our history makes it hard to do that. A treaty would be a really helpful symbol. The Uluru Statement from the Heart offers a useful way forward, if our country’s leaders could listen to more of the people.
In regard to the second point – improving practical actions with Indigenous people – taking action to stop imprisoning so many of them would be one of the most important things to do. But before we can hope to achieve much of all this, Australians in general need to do more to listen to Indigenous voices.
(Adapted from my original Facebook post)