Each decade of our lives brings with it new perspective, new insight, new ideals.
As each decade passes, and I reflect on the me of years gone by, I realise just how different my perceptions of the world have become. If you’d asked me in the past what Australia Day meant to me, I’d have given a wide range of answers.
Some of those answers would possibly have included:
- A day to celebrate our history.
- A day to spend with friends and family.
- A public holiday off work.
- Being proud to be Aussie.
I’m guessing that for most people, Australia Day does mean something like one of the above, or very similar. But I’ve also come to know in recent years, that for some people, Australia Day has become a stark reminder that their lands were invaded and their culture stripped away slowly and painfully. Their culture is still clinging to a fragile existence in a country that doesn’t seem to care.
When I was Growing Up….
I was raised by a hard working “Aussie” Tradie, and the values he spouted over my childhood are pretty far removed from the values I hold as an adult. I grew up in the 80’s, a time of work hard for little, spread your money around as best you could, and raise your family in the Aussie, beer drinking, BBQ cooking kind of way. Where “Greenies” were ruining people’s jobs, and unless you were “white” you weren’t really all that important, and god forbid you questioned your own sexuality, that sort of foolery was intolerable!
In all fairness, my dad has either mellowed or become so tired of me ranting about equality and the environment he’s chosen to agree with me for the sake of peace! He’s a good man, but I’m so glad that our generation seems to question what we are “fed” rather than just go along mindlessly.
When I Discovered Australia’s Secret Shame!
Yep, you read it right, Australia hides secrets, ones that need to be blown into the limelight! Until my mid 20’s I’d never really left the safe surrounds of the coast, tourism areas or main country towns. I was blissfully unaware of what I didn’t know, and then a few years ago we set off on a camping trip from Darwin to Adelaide. So excited to see things like Kakadu and Uluru, we were looking forward to discovering the “real Australia”.
What we found was not only that there are places in this country more beautiful than you can ever imagine, but sadly that there are people in this country that are forgotten about, used for political leverage, and left to live in squalor in shameful slums that most of the country don’t even know exist.
We discovered that Indigenous Australians are suffering. They are being tucked away, their needs dragged out and spoken about only when a political party needs to gain a vote, or the government wants some of the land they occupy to grant mining leases and rake in cash. There are real people, real families, real stories and there is real sadness spread across the heart of our country. There is a real culture that is dying, much of which has been lost forever and this will continue to happen unfortunately unless change is made quickly. The reality is, so few of us realise just how bad it truly is.
Why Australia Day is Important.
- Australia Day is truly important, because EACH AND EVERY PERSON IN AUSTRALIA IS IMPORTANT.
- Australia Day needs to be a day to celebrate our growth as a country.
- It needs to be a day to celebrate progression toward equality on all levels.
- It needs to be a day that cultures blend and share, merge and combine for good.
- It needs to be a day that we hold our government accountable to be sure they are truly leading our country in a way we can all be proud of.
- It is a day where history must be acknowledged and a path to move forward TOGETHER is celebrated.