Monday, January 26, 2009

Has Kevin said 'no' to reconciliation?

It’s easy to say ‘sorry’, but it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t have a sincere desire to put things right.

Kevin Rudd has named prof. Mick Dodson Australian of the Year, presumably for his work on reconciliation. John Howard failed to listen to Mick’s recommendations re: ‘sorry’ and other steps forward, that helped motivate Mick Dodson to be a most active critic of John Howard – it’s too early to tell if Kevin might have made the same mistake.

Using the opportunity afforded by being named Australian of the Year, Mick Dodson has suggested that Australian Day be moved from Invasion Day, 26th January to a date that doesn’t have such a negative association (one day in May was suggested).

Kevin Rudd has said that Australia Day will stay as 26th January – too afraid that the type of Anglo psychos that draped themselves in the Australian Flag to further the cause of racism at Cronulla a few years back will no longer vote for him.

John Howard’s bigoted resolution that he had nothing to apologise for – well, you know where you stand with that, but a (hollow?) apology, then to be fobbed-off personal recognition for an Aboriginal leader – I sincerely hope that is not all Kevin and co planned for reconciliation. The reason I’m concerned at this moment is that personal honours are normally bestowed after something is achieved; Sorry wasn’t the end of this issue, but the start of the journey.

Moving Australia Day sounds like a symbolic move, but presently that is part of what required - to remove Colonial signifiers, most public institutions frame Australia as a British colony. These public institutions make a narrative about Australia, and while one group is excluded (especially the first nations) then the narrative doesn't appropriately describe Australia.

I hope Sorry wasn’t all that Kevin planned for reconciliation.
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