Australia Day Position
Australia day is extremely important for the whole nation.
This must include respect and recognition for First Nation People and their culture and custodianship over 60,000 years and regognition of the many wrongs perpetrated since European settlement.
It includes the finalisation of Uluru Statement from the Heart, Treaty, Truth Telling and Reconciliation
Citizenship ceremonies could be held whenever it is appropriate for the ceremony authority and this includes Australia day
I would like to keep Australia day on 26 January until, through inclusive discussion and by full consensus a national majority agree to keep it at that date or change it.
So I would want Council to recognise that we all (First Australians to the newest Australians) have a lot more to learn about our real history, much of whichj has remained opaque to the majority of the population.
This would include the examples below and very much more:
- Captain Cook shot and wounded a First Nation Man - in 1770
- Governor Philip had instructions to establish good relations with the native people in 1788
- The 26 January First Fleet 1788 landing involved arrival of ships laden with convicts who had suffered a terrible voyage
- A mutual greeting on the beach on the day of the landing –(read the Book Dancing with Strangers)
- Subsequent tensions and misunderstandings by both parties
- Terrible crimes, murder and illegal land aquistion were perpetrated against the First Nation People by many new Settlers.
- This resulted in the Stolen generation, Assimilation and the widespread loss of Culture , Language, and Country
- Consequent widespread intergenrational fragmentation and disadvantage.
- Reconciliation and many attempts to redress the wrongs
All of the above could become part of a greater celebration of understanding – Australian Nation Week
Until we feel we can do this, I think we should maintain goodwill, remain with the status quo and advocate strongly for reconciliation and all of what that implies.