Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Australia Day...

So what's it all about?

At the most basic level it is a public holiday. That means retail outlets, supermarkets, fuel stations, restaurants, coffee shops, movie theatres and a myriad of other places will be full of people working. That's just wrong.

What else? We're celebrating being Australian. I am in no doubt that this is indeed a lucky country for the majority of people who live here. Perhaps whether they realise it or not. Our standard of living is high. Even though we whinge about or government/s we get a say in choosing them. We have a welfare system, superannuation guarantee and a health system that aren't perfect but are a helluva lot better than many other nations provide.

Education is relatively free and available to anyone who genuinely wants it.

And, while free speech is not a legal right in Australia, none of our Nobel Peace Prize winners are under house arrest.

My family came to Australia not long before my 12th birthday. My first impressions were that it was hot, damned hot! I'll admit that I didn't feel that I fitted in as an Aussie for a number of years, probably until I left school. But it grew on me.

I'll celebrate Australia Day by getting up early to go for a ride with some friends. It's going to be 37 degrees here in Canberra so we'll probably have to hide in the air conditioning for the middle of the day. And then our family tradition is to go to the Australia Day fireworks in the evening at Lake Burley Griffin. So maybe Australia Day is about friends and family?

Certain parts of Australia's indigenous population call it Invasion Day instead. And I sympathise. White settlement was (and continues to be) a marginalising experience for the Aboriginal People. But we all need to move forward regardless. If we can ever get closer to some form of reconciliation it would be awesome to celebrate that on January 26th.

Australia Day should not be hijacked by hoons in loud cars with Southern Cross tattoos drinking too much beer and dragging the flag on the ground. That's not what we're about as a nation. The lowest common denominator doesn't have to win out.

If you're here in Australia, count your blessings. If you've been here for years and you're not a citizen then get on with it or go back where you came from.

Here's a couple of songs to celebrate.

DJ Rob

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