AS A proud Australian of English/Irish descent, “transported as convicts on the first and second fleets”, I am disgusted with the attitude of the Bass Coast Shire Council regarding Australia Day.
What a disgrace no national anthem was played as part of the official ceremony on January 26 for those who proudly received their citizenship. We proud Australians of Bass Coast apparently do have some representation on the council in the person of Deputy Mayor Cr Rochelle Halstead who invited those attending to join in singing the anthem. Thank you, Councillor.
I remind the council and shire officers that Australia Day is a day of celebration for all Australians: black, white, and those by choice. It is unforgivable that I and many others have been excluded from celebrating this day as it should be celebrated, by a shire that claims inclusiveness and tolerance.
To Aboriginal people and to self-loathing white people, this is not a racist post in any way or form, just the truth as I see it.
This is why we celebrate Australia Day on January 26. This was the day Australians became free to make our own decisions about which wars we would fight and how our citizens would be treated. It was the day we were all declared Australians. For the first time since Captain Cook’s landing, this new Act gave Aboriginal Australians the full protection of Australian Law.
So, I ask, why call it Invasion Day? Why call it a day of shame?
Cook landed on Australian shores on April 28 1770. Eighteen years later, on January 18 1788, Captain Arthur Phillip arrived in Botany Bay with the First Fleet. He found the bay unsuitable for the establishment of a settlement, and on January 26 1788 the fleet sailed north to Port Jackson, where the settlement was established.
So there are two significant events in Australia’s history on January 26, 171 years apart.
As a proud Australian I see no need for the animosity shown towards celebrating Australia Day on January 26. I see no need for changing the date. What I do see is all Australians –Aboriginal, generational white, and immigrant – have something to celebrate on this date.
We are, after all, one nation. We should be under one flag, and we should have no more racial argument. I know there are differing opinions and I know there will be some comments about what I have left out of my historical input, but what is said is factual and relevant.
Editor's note: At this week’s council meeting, several people queried the decision not to play the National Anthem at the citizenship ceremony. Council CEO Ali Wastie responded: “In recent years the practice of playing the National Anthem has been inconsistent. Council commits to playing it at all future citizenship ceremonies.“