Wednesday, January 26, 2011

what is Australia Day about?

If I ran a poll on the meaning of Australia Day, I think a lot of respondents would look as dumb as an American discussing the right to bear arms.

Australia Day is a commemoration of the day the first British fleet landed at Sydney Cove and declared British Sovereignty over the EASTERN half of Australia. Why just the Eastern half? Well, in 1606, the Dutch "discovered" Australia, but only the West. Rather than fight over the barren dust bowl of an island, the Dutch and the Brits agreed to split it down the middle.

So 26th January is really only Australia Day on the East coast. Perhaps it should be renamed White East Coast Australia Day. That's just one of my problems with the celebration of this date.

The other problem is a little more sensitive. Why don't we like boat people any more? You see, I wonder why it is that the first boat people, the ones on the so-called First Fleet, and the swarms that followed from mighty Britain, were any better than modern boat people. Modern boat people need our help, but worse than that, we know they need our help. We see their plight on the daily news, both back in their home countries and when they are incarcerated on our own soil simply for asking for our help.

Anyway, I digress, as any decent person knows that I'm right.

What I really wonder is why we don't celebrate Federation Day instead. This would be something more of us could identify with and celebrate. It gave us our modern identity.

Unfortunately I suspect I know why we don't celebrate Federation instead of the invasion by the First Fleet. It's really just about public holidays. We'd be a holiday down if we ditched Australia Day, as 1st January is already New Years Day holiday. No politician who tries to drop Australia Day would survive the backlash from grey and WASP Australia. The riots would start in West Sydney and the retirement belt of each Australian State.

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