Let’s talk about Australian values, and Australia Day.
Martin Bullock Lawyers values tolerance, diversity, compassion and justice. We see these as Australian values as well.
The point of Australia Day has always been to unify people, and to celebrate what keeps us together.
Historically, we’ve had many dates on which Australia Day has been celebrated. The first ever Australia Day occurred on 30 July 1915, an event to raise money and celebrate Australian soldiers in World War I. The current date of 26 January has only been a public holiday across Australia since 1994, so this is only our 25th official Australia Day holiday on 26 January.
There is no doubt that this is a significant and emotional issue for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. They are deeply affected, angry and hurt by the jingoism and patriotism, almost racism, which has been come to be associated with Australia Day. Some examples include the “Love It or Leave It” and “Go Back to Where You Came From” movements.
As our principal, Greg Martin, says:
Australia is alone IN THE WHOLE WORLD in celebrating it’s national day on the day when we were colonised by a foreign power. The US celebrates Independence Day. France celebrates Bastille Day when the monarchy was overthrown. 142 nations in the UN celebrate their national day on the anniversary of their liberation from oppression or colonial rule. Australia is alone among UN countries in sourcing our national pride from being colonised by a foreign power.
New Indigenous presenter on the Today Show, Brooke Boney, recently made some great points about this issue, including:
- It’s difficult to separate January 26th from the negative effects of colonisation on Indigenous people, such as the fact that Aboriginal boys are more likely to go to jail than to finish high school.
- A day that suits more people is going to be more uniting for all Australians.
Martin Bullock Lawyers supports changing the date.
We would suggest January 1st, the date Australia became a country, or alternatively we would suggest May 8th – you can work that one out.
Whatever we eventually decide as a country, respect, reconciliation and unity should be the aim of our celebrations.