Tony Abbott’s mild suggestion to the rally at the Tent Embassy that it’s time for them to move on has sparked a wave of support from most non-Indigenous Australians. Whilst I have no issue with his right to express an opinion, I neither have no issue about how it was received. We are all free to make our own judgements.
I find it ironic, however, that his comment was delivered on January 26, a date we, as a young country, have not moved on from ourselves.
What are we really celebrating on January 26? We are celebrating nothing more than the birth of a British colony. A colony that was founded simply by hoisting the Union Jack on Aboriginal land and as the colony grew it was evident that the original inhabitants had to be exterminated for the colony to prosper.
And it did.
In 1901, following our federation, we were no longer a British colony. Yet each year we celebrate that moment in our history that bound us to the English crown.
If we are no longer a British colony why do we continually remind ourselves that we were? And we are no longer a ‘white Australia’ yet it is only the white history we fervently celebrate. How can we expect ‘black’ Australia to move on while ‘white’ Australians are free to revel in the past?
I partly agree with Tony Abbott’s words when he said:
“I think the indigenous people of Australia can be very proud of the respect in which they are held by every Australian.
“I think a lot has changed since then, and I think it probably is time to move on from that.”
Where I disagree is the emphasis on Indigenous Australia moving on. Perhaps we all should move on.
We are no longer a British colony. We are no longer a white Australia. We are the best country in the world and that is what we should be celebrating. Less than half of the Australian population are of British origin. Let’s celebrate as one instead of alienating most Australians on January 26.