Australia Day, for me, has always been a day of kicking back with family and friends, maybe some lamb on the barbie, a few beers and listening to Triple J’s Hottest 100 on the radio.
As someone who came to this great country through marriage, I had no real knowledge of the history and what little I heard, I dismissed because, well, it wasn’t really my country of birth and it was just easier to ignore the whispers in the wind.
2016 is proving to be a little different for me, due to a couple of film clips doing the rounds. The first is a clip of Aboriginal people responding to the words Australia Day and I have to say I was educated by their words. I’m sure that I have probably been offered the opportunity to hear these thoughts numerous times before but I was not open to actually hear them. My response to the words is that I have a deep guilt and sorrow for my ignorance and closed mind.
The second clip is a speech made by Stan Grant, a successful journalist and broadcaster who also happens to be Aboriginal. This passionate, insightful and amazing speech was made as the opening speaker at the IQ2 Racism Debate – where the debate topic was “Racism is destroying the Australian Dream.” The words spoken by Stan Grant moved me to tears. I want to be better than that!
Last night I listened on ABC Radio, to an interview with the Chairman of the Australia Day Council, Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith VC MG before the awards were announced. He spoke about many things Australian but the thing that made my ears prick up, was that he thought it was time for Australians to revisit the discussion about changing the date on which we celebrate Australia Day. He stated that he thought Australians were ready and capable of having that conversation.
And I agree! It is time to have an Australia Day that all of our citizens can celebrate together – especially our first citizens.
So this Australia Day 2016 – I ask that you may have a thoughtful time with your friends and family and maybe spend some time in discussion on the clips above.