It’s Australia Day today, 2015.
I am fiercely proud of my country.
We are a nation of diversity and amazing people and landscapes.
But each Australia Day I am conflicted. I hate that its meant to be a day of national pride and unity, but instead it is often a day of division down racial lines.
I have some understanding of why the indigenous population is resentful of Australia Day, as the date is the anniversary of white settlement. Not a day to celebrate in their culture.
I also hate the boganism that is prevalent in today’s celebrations.
I don’t like people wearing flags as capes, I find it disrespectful to wear a flag, to let it touch the ground, to sit on it, spill your drink on it etc.
I hate how some people think that they are better than others because they were born here, rather than chose to move here.
I would rather people were judged (if you must judge, personally I would rather not) on how you contributed to making a better society rather than where you happened to be born, because that actually wasn’t a choice you made. However, your actions to your fellows are a choice that you make. Everyday. And that has more value than a birthplace, or skin colour.
What I do like?
The people pledging their allegiance at new citizenship ceremonies throughout the country. Welcome to the lucky country.
The pride in Australian culture, our music, our art, the achievements of our people.
I love that we are trying to be unified, and incrementally working towards it.
I love that we celebrate in our own understand way – picnics in parks, local BBQs.
I love that the conversation in the nation is around bringing us together, moving forward and recognition and reconciliation.
Discussion around Republic, changing the flag and so on can wait for another day. I know that it’s political, and I think it clouds the more important subject of unifying and solidifying our nation, of indigenous, colonial, new immigrants and new born Australians and keeping this country the Lucky Country.
Now I’m off to work, but whoever you are, wherever you are, today is day of many things, but it’s ultimately the day to be proud of your heritage.