Jan 24, 2018

Crikey cheat sheet: where do our pollies stand on Australia Day?

As the debate surrounding Australia Day gets louder, which leaders are taking up the call, and which ones are burying their heads?

Chris Woods — Freelance journalist

Chris Woods

Freelance journalist

January 26. A national day of mourning for many, a guilty day off for some, and an excuse to wear obnoxious flag capes for others.

Wherever you land on Australia Day AKA Invasion Day AKA Survival Day, the push to change our national date (which, for those playing at home, goes back even further than the public holiday) to something less overtly offensive to First Nations people has now become strong enough to enter the political sphere. Let’s see how our politicians stack up.

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13 thoughts on “Crikey cheat sheet: where do our pollies stand on Australia Day?

  1. John Webster

    The date will change but will there also be a push to change the name from Australia Day? Will it need to become Federation Day, Reconciliation Day, Independence or Republic Day, Wattle Day?

  2. Xoanon

    Why is Tony Abbott in this list? He’s the only person quoted who has no direct connection with Aboriginal Australia, either as an Indigenous person or an office-holder with responsibility for Aboriginal issues. I wish the media would stop giving him free publicity for no good reason.

  3. Jimbo from Logan

    “A free country debates its history; it does not deny it,” says Malcolm Turnbull, denying the country a chance to debate our history.

  4. AR

    As Jacinta Price notes, re mixed heritage, it would be a sublime culmination of the s44 clusterfuck if she, Linda Burney or others similarly self-identifying were found to be ineligible MPs due to o/s citizenship acquired through ancestry.

    1. klewso

      Price is a practicing conservative and aspiring Limited News Party member.

  5. Kenneth Piaggio

    For a date that is really only 24 years old there is a lot of talk about the date’s historical significance. I have a son who is 24 years old, he is open to the idea of the people of Australia reflecting on how 200 vs 60,000 years can be recognized.

  6. Rais

    In Scullion’s case it’s not unreasonable to imagine that the date of First Sydney Settlement Day hasn’t piqued his interest. After all, he’s a long way away from Sydney.

  7. greg jb

    Another bullshit apologist fluff issue to occupy the media and political space.
    How about a unified political commitment to improve the well being of all Australians and some form of coherent and sustainable policy to achieve this improvement. Which the media can then quantify, qualify, comment and suggest upon ….Who gives a fuck about the date, just start governing for everyone.

    1. [email protected]

      Totally agree, can’t see it happening.

      I’ve been thinking lately that it is the media that sows division the most in our society. More than even the divisions between the political parties. I reckon a media shutdown for a year would be a good thing. Never gonna happen though. I’d support it.

  8. Lee Tinson

    Australia is doing a great job if one of Aboriginal Australia’s most important issues is the date for Australia Day. Seems to me that if 26/1 is an offensive date for what it commemorates, wouldn’t any other date be just as offensive? Take a moment to reflect that had it been almost anyone else but England, there probably wouldn’t be any aboriginals left at all.

    1. shea mcduff

      Actually there are a whole stack of issues that are extremely important to indigenous people and those who have a sense of social justice. Land rights hasn’t gone away, nor has concerns about health, poverty, legal discriminations, theft and loss of culture – and plenty more front and centre.
      It’s just that changing the date from Invasion Day is the preferred issue for those in the media and government that wish to distract from, ignore or downplay the rest.

    2. Matt Hardin

      What, like in Tasmania? I think the English failure to eradicate the Aboriginal population had more to do with the terrain and the size of the continent than any inherent goodness in the heart of the settlers. Besides the argument “it could have been worse” doesn’t strike me as a particularly strong one.

      People celebrating the day of the establishment of the first colony and hence the beginning of being marginalised in their own land must be galling for Aboriginal people no matter how mixed their feelings about English settlement. Stopping rubbing salt into their wounds would seem to the absolute least that a decent society could do. Addressing racism, inadequate access to health and education, and preservation and recognition of history and culture would also be on the list of things a decent society should do. These are more important but harder and take longer.

  9. Arky

    How do you put “freelance journalist” in the byline when the whole piece is just sneering at the opinions of people who don’t agree with you? Feels like it would have been better off on Twitter or Facebook.

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