This January 26 you will find me floating blissfully in a kiddie pool, half cut on shandies and listening to Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives Hottest 100.
To be clear, I am not listening to the Conservative Hottest 100 just because I believe that music shouldn’t be about fighting the system so much as it should be about celebrating the system and vowing to uphold the status quo. I’ll be listening as a form of protest to save Australia Day.
Because haven’t you heard? Australia Day is under attack.
The Radical Left would have you believe that the date of Australia Day somehow excludes people — yet all they offer for evidence is the people who have consistently said they’ve been excluded from the day.
Sorry but since when is Australia Day about celebrating all Australians? It’s about celebrating “The Australian Way of Life”, what could be more indicative of the Australian way of life than ignoring the concerns of First Nations people out of fear that it might harsh your buzz on a long weekend.
Frankly, with so much to celebrate, it’s no wonder that we simply do not have time in the day to reflect on how we came to have such freedom and opulence or whether anyone else has been left behind on our journey.
This is an issue dear to the hearts of many Australians who care deeply about Australia Day’s specific date and not merely the fact that it’s a public holiday during the summer months.
The modern celebration of Australia Day has absolutely nothing to do with the arrival of the First Fleet, meaning the date choice is purely arbitrary but also cannot be changed because it’s sacred.
The Daily Telegraph already demonstrated that those who wish to change the date don’t know their own history. In a page-one expose, they told the story of how Eora warrior Bennelong actually had a wonderful friendship with Captain Arthur Phillip. Sure, Phillip had him kidnapped, stuffed into a box, dragged away from his family and kept him shackled for a few months but who among us hasn’t done that to a good mate? Truly, they were best buddies through thick and thin. They didn’t feel the need to keep score about who shackled whom.
I thought it was a brilliant and illuminating piece. You so rarely see a 200 years posthumous “I can’t be racist because I have black friends” defence. What a stroke of genius.
As “former” prime minister Tony Abbott so brilliantly noted, there are “364 other days a year for the Greens to be politically correct.”
To me, this was a surprising concession, as it gives the Greens carte blanche to be politically correct on ANZAC Day, not to mention to continue their war on Christmas. Still, he makes a great point. January 26 is the one day where political correctness should not apply. It’s basically The Purge for moral responsibility.
I mean, I wasn’t personally involved with colonisation as it happened. I haven’t done anything to Aboriginal people aside from my current work trying to silence their experience and my lifetime of complicit benefiting from a system that disproportionately advantages me over them. It’s unreasonable that I should have to do something simply because it is within my powers to do so and sickeningly inhumane not to.
Anyway, if the Change The Date people were serious that would have proposed an alternate date aside from these:
January 1, Federation Day: unacceptable as I’ll still be drunk from the night before.
January 3, Steve Waugh’s Century Day: unacceptable as I’ll still be drunk from New Years.
February 13, Sorry Day: unacceptable as I’ll have started drinking for Valentine’s Day.
March 3, Australian Act Day: unacceptable as Autumn is the Ringo of seasons.
May 8, Mate Day: unacceptable as a larrikin nation such as ours would hate such a joke.
June 3, Mabo Day: unacceptable as it’s too close to acknowledging our origins.
As you can see, the left are incapable of suggesting a single date that I can’t easily knock away for petty reasons.
Finally and most significantly, whenever we’re making an argument like this to once again, as a nation, disregard the feelings of our First Nations people for our own benefit, it’s important to circle back with a bit of paternalistic speak about how we should be focusing on the big problems.
This is intrinsically true. Any change to the date of Australia Day would be purely symbolic and who wants to symbolically suggest to Aboriginal people that the national day should belong to them, too. Instead, I am going to ardently push for some substantial change that could have lasting effects for the community. We’d need to make a big statement, one approximately the size of Uluru in my reckoning. If only there was such a thing staring us in the face. Oh well.
In the meantime, I will be enjoying my Australia Day as I wade about in this kiddie pool and drink to forget the uncomfortable past of our nation.
*This editorial was submitted with the assistance of satirist James Colley, co-author of Too Right: Politically incorrect opinions too dangerous to be published except that they were.