Protests were carried out across the country today, calling for the changing of the date of Australia Day from the 26th to something more inclusive. Of course, it made media headlines and caused a bit of a ruckus online. But is the date of the national day the issue worth protesting?
I said in a previous piece that I, personally, have no inclination towards a day that celebrates my Australian citizenship or history – my horizons and perspectives are a little more global than that. If asked, obviously I would say that there are numerous other days that would be more appropriate than January 26th, such as January 1st or March 3rd, but it really is not important enough to concern oneself with protesting.
It is worth noting, perhaps out of spite for these kinds of people, that those who join in the call for changing the date but then have little knowledge or concern about legitimate Indigenous matters are merely there to feel some kind of moral high ground. It is commendable that the movement has grown as large as it has, and I have no problem with those who did protest necessarily, but the debate doesn’t stop there and I know some people who are clueless about real issues yet try to claim moral superiority for being a part of it.
Sadly, the media has latched onto this for the past few years (again, for some supposed moral high ground – go back further and no doubt many of the ‘progressive’ sites will have written articles about celebrations) and it has become incredulously polarising. That such vitriol can be generated over a date is absurdity defined. Such passionate pleas and offense should be redirected elsewhere, where it is rightly deserved. I’ll give some examples:
- We still do not have a Treaty between us and the Indigenous peoples. Most other countries – even the US (although at first the treaty there was just for show) – have a treaty signed;
- Greater Indigenous representation of Indigenous issues. Tony Abbott as Indigenous Envoy is an insult to any decent person, and the soon-to-resign Minister overseeing it currently has not been a palatable choice either;
- The attack on Indigenous land rights, such as the Adani mine that is spitting on them currently. Crossover a bit on the environmental/connection to land side and the corruption over the Murray-Darling water supply has been shoved to the backburner;
- The systematically racist institutions that need an overhaul so that discrimination against Indigenous peoples is removed – yes people these days may not be as ‘racist’, but take the over-representation of Indigenous people in the prison system and look into why that’s so;
- What about the radiation found in the water supplies of Indigenous areas of the NT and WA?
There is so much to be angry about, and changing the date of Australia Day will not in any way make a notable change in the lives of these people. It’s a superficial issue with a simple solution that just needs to be implemented, and the media needs to get their collective head out of their arse and focus on genuine concerns that the Indigenous community themselves have highlighted.
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