Thoughts on Australia Day...
Written: 27th Jan 2005 | Last Updated: 27th Jan 2005
In war and peace, the twentieth century brought us international credibility and allowed our growing nation to stand up as a defender of human freedom. We also demonstrated that Australia was a bit of a social, creative, agricultural and industrial Petrie dish. From the outside, we may have seemed a bundle of contradictions, but we generally agreed that we lived in a land of opportunity. Many others from around the globe migrated to our shores to join in the great experiment.
After Federation in 1901, we may have remained under the flag of the Union Jack, but its crosses of St. Andrew and St. George shrank into the top left corner, while the constellation of the Southern Cross took over the heart. There have been campaigns to change the flag - to make it more representative of the way we are now. But most of us seem attached to the version held high in so many theatres of war, at so many Olympic Games, at the MCG and Anzac Day ceremonies around the country. It's part of our landscape.
Our colonial roots are a long way past now – even in the last forty years, the cord attaching us to those rascally old days has thinned to only a hair’s breadth. The awkward birth of our country perhaps made us try harder to make amends…improve…struggle to prove ourselves worthy of something better.
We rejoice in perpetually reinventing ourselves…we’re now a vibrant country living an envied lifestyle in an enormously diverse land, populated by a multicultural mix that enriches all our lives. We are more awake, we work harder, we are less intimidated and more fascinated by the world beyond our shores. We are proud Aussies, living our dreams, in love with our sunlight, seascapes, mountains and deserts. We know how lucky we are to call Australia home.
I guess that’s reason enough to celebrate Australia Day.
What we need to do to make things even more purposeful and meaningful for the future is to embrace our native aboriginal people, and share a unified commitment to and pride in our roles as brothers and sisters in this kaleidoscopic land. Some insist the government should say “sorry” for all the mistakes made by our colonial forbearers - but actions always speak louder than words. Let’s show we are one people, one country.
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