John Ibbotson/Ray Payne OAM would seem rather chuffed re their alternate facts for the origin of Australia Day (CVI 20/1/21).
But how could they ignore the bleeding obvious – January 26 1788 was the day Arthur Phillip went ashore at Sydney Cove and claimed possession of the Great South Land in the name of England’s King George.
This had two long term outcomes:-
(1) It began the termination of 60,000 yrs of sole occupancy by First Nations’ Peoples.
(2) It was the embryonic kick-off for the lucky country we all enjoy today.
Australia Day should honestly reflect our history rather than apologise for it.
If Australia Day Morning was adjusted to Australia Day ‘Mourning’ – First Nations could take ownership and decide how best to acknowledge the incredible longevity of their tenancy and the culture that has been passed down – even an Invasion Day Rally could be sanctioned if not encouraged as a true reflection of history – the choice is theirs!
However at an appropriate time representatives of First Nations and those who arrived post 1788 should gather to formally acknowledge what has been achieved since – this ceremony could include – Welcome to Country, simultaneous raising of the Aboriginal and Australian flags, music, dance by performers from diverse backgrounds – whatever is mutually agreed.
Then all of us can enjoy the traditional Australia Day events both social and ceremonial – a barbie with friends, sport on TV, Awards and Citizenship ceremonies and for goodness sake have TripleJ’s ‘Hottest 100’ back where it belongs.
Australia Day is for everyone because when we are one we have truly won!
Ted Strong, Seelands