Tomorrow 26 January will mark Australia Day for some and Invasion Day for others. This is enough to prove that there is something wrong here. A day when a people celebrate as a nation should be an occasion that brings unity and not division. Choosing a date that marks the point where a section of Australia lost sovereignty, runs counter to bringing unity.
This alone is a good argument to change the date, to one that is far more suitable and builds a sense of a people going somewhere. The planting of a flag by captain cook proclaiming the land a British colony does not do this. It would be far better to pick the anniversary of the battle at the Eureka stockade in Ballarat on 3 December 1854. This was the event that begun the transformation of a group of colonies into a nation, through a movement to win democracy. Eureka represented who we were and who we would become.
There is a lot of unfinished business here.
Issue must be taken with a wrong view of the argument over the Australia Day debate. This is that the problem is one of white colonialism. It is wrong because most white Australians did not come as colonisers. The white colonialism argument denies that most of the population was a born in Australia, and that those that did not came to build a new life for themselves, not to displace the original inhabitants. The majority of those who came in the Frist Fleet and up to the early part of the eighteenth century came in chains, as prisoners, and then, as a form of slave labour.
There is a difference between the goalers and prisoners, then the squatters and ordinary settlers, and more recently, those who run our corporations and government and those who must sell their labour.
Insulting a large part of the population for being here and insisting that they should only feel shame is not exactly the best way to win them over, and without winning them over, and support for the First Nations will not come about. All parts of Australia have a right to dignity and to be proud of who they are. Without these, a people are left defenceless and open to be manipulated and exploited.
Pushing the white colonialism argument denies all this and works to hold back progress. Unwittingly, it draws attention away from the need to win self determination towards the dead end of self flagellation.
There is nothing wrong with having a day to celebrate being Australia, so long as what is being celebrated take account of Australia being a nation of two parts. The matter of the sovereignty and self determination of the First Nations and that of a nation of many parts must both be resolved to create a better future.
Australia is saddled with a minority monopolising power. Aspects of the British monarchy remain. More important still, is that much of big business is owned by major corporations with their major shareholders in New York and London, whose power relies on dividing and preventing us from coming together as a people and doing something to change this.
The question of democracy comes in here. The right to vote was won. But it does not stop here. Winning the transferring of real power from a minority to the majority still has a long way to go.
Eureka was an act of unity between those of diverse backgrounds and the birthplace of a multicultural Australia. There is strength in this, leading to a unique identity emerging out of the parts. The point is how do we build the future? A good start is to respect each other, and value the contributions towards making this a better land to live in.
Changing the date will recognise the important place of the First Nations, provide the best conditions to forge unity, and build a better vision to reach towards.