Perhaps we all should move on

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.

124 comments on “Perhaps we all should move on

  1. “…the respect in which they are held by EVERY Australian.”

    I wish that were true. But I feel that there is little evidence of that.

  2. I very much agree about Australia’s lack of knowledge about our own country, in fact I would estimate that we know far more about Native Americans than we know about our own people.

    Many know far more about about Pearl Harbour than they do about Milne Bay, and we could probably name the Kings and Queens of England more readily than we could name our own Prime Ministers.

  3. I personally feel that the Aboriginal people are one of least respected of all nationalities and races. Urban myths abound. Probably almost on a par with the way that some regard boat people. It’s a sad truth unfortunately.

  4. Yes, you really must move on.
    Britain was itself invaded, occupied, and settled by several countries over the centuries. Danes, Norwegians, French, Romans etc etc.

    The Romans in fact brought with them a strange Middle Eastern religion called Christianity and celebrated every year the birth of their originator on 25 December and several of its `Saint’s Days’. So to follow your argument to its logical conclusion, lets not celebrate Christmas either.

    Australia was also visited by the Dutch, Russians, French, etc as well as the British who finally settled here and have been joined by peoples from many other European countries over the centuries. So why are your resentments and animosities solely and pointedly directed at the British?. Simply because the British planted a flag and claimed the territory?. Or because they brought many aspects of European culture with them to become the dominant culture.?.

    Do aborigines want to go back to their nomadic hunter/gatherer lifestyles?. If so they should say so, loudly and clearly, and I’m sure that land could be found in this vast country for them all to return to that lifestyle.

    Maybe that is the answer as it is obvious in comments on these pages that they do not wish to adapt to a European-based technological lifestyle.

  5. I don’t think anyone wants to turn back the clock, rather that the clock we have tells the time accurately. (Work that one out 😀 )

  6. Jarl, I would hardly call it “(our) resentments and animosities”. This was not an emotive argument, it was a statement of fact. The teaching of history in Australian schools was entirely centred around the English explorers and rote learning the Kings and Queens of England, to name two instances. If a Dutch explorer was given a mention, then it was only as a footnote.

    Who intimated that indigenous people should want to return to a culture that they may not have had. You have quoted “nomadic hunter/gatherer lifestyles”, but of course not all indigenous were ever nomadic, for example the salt water peoples. I would have to defer to Migs on this one, but I should imagine that given Australia’s generally harsh interior that a majority of Aboriginal society would have centered around coastal regions.

  7. That I was born a white anglo saxon male with blond hair and, incredibly handsome, had nothing to do with me. Do I appreciate it? What is there to appreciate its just the way things are. Were I born into the aboriginal community, though, I suspect things might have been a little different.
    Until you live an aboriginal life I don’t think anyone can really understand what its like.

  8. One of the things which reinforced to me the complete illogic of discrimination was a few years ago. This was in the middle of a fear campaign against Muslims. Youngest daughter was given a head scarf by a Muslim friend as a gift. While standing at a bus stop on her way to uni she was approached by a number of Australian males and was spat upon.

    So that’s it precisely, nobody really knows what it’s like until you have the experience.

  9. Rabbit, now tell me about your being incredibly handsome problems. I’m certain that Migs and Bacchus don’t have the same ones…

  10. No bannings. How about we open the cellar instead. I’m off for a very early night and what I don’t know won’t hurt me.

    It’s not as if we have any wine lovers here at the moment. 😳

  11. Well, I’m drinking a very fine Doc Adams 2009 Classic white picked up from Graysonline for $19 a doz. Care to join me Bacchus? The Cafe cellar has been going down since the electronic keypad was installed, with Migs as the only pinholder.

  12. Before I go . . .

    How often do we hear that we need to keep the English flag as part of our own flag to pay respects for those diggers who fought for us?

    I don’t know about you, but I’ve heard it hundreds of times.

    My dad fought in WW2 and I can assure you he had no respect for England. He didn’t fight for them. He fought for Australia. He didn’t fight harder because of the Union Jack.

  13. I’m more of a red drinker rabbit. A shiraz from Penfolds or maybe a Grant Burge Filsell might go down well about now.

    Cheers rabbit *clink*

    or in keeping with my earlier post, かんぱい。

  14. It’s seems, Migs that the ‘glorification’ of the Australian flag is a post war thing.
    My grandfather, WW1, never spoke of the war and I’m sure used Anzac Day as a means to meet up with old friends. The march was prelude to the real Day.

  15. The same with my father Migs and his parents were both born in the UK. It was dad’s recollection that there were a lot of Australians who refused to enlist because they felt that an English war had nothing to do with them. That all changed of course when Japan entered the war.

  16. Back on topic. Did I see somewhere today that Abbott will spend X amount of time visiting Aboriginal communities each year he is ‘prime minister.’ No doubt with media in tow.

    Now I know he has visited said communities, and may have some ‘connection’.

    Would he be doing this if he wasn’t in politics?

    One thing I will say for Rudd, on many occasions he would visit soup kitchens on the quiet, without the media crowd.

  17. I remember in the seventies meeting Fred Hollows. He and many others would travel for months to Aboriginal communities fixing real problems in those places.

    Abbott ain’t no Fred Hollows.

  18. Rabbit, the first thing that came to mind when I read that Abbott would visit Aboriginal communities was that it was akin to a person who goes to church…it’s not the fact that you go that matters, but what you do when you come out the door.

  19. Jarl, do you realise this is one of the oldest, continuous cultures in the world.

    You description of what happen in the British Isles and Europe backs this up.

    Yes people called in but never stayed.

    Never contributed to or changed the culture.

    Nomadic lifestyle does not mean a lower form of humans.

    It is just

    No they are not asking to go back to that lifestyle. They know that is impossible.

    They are, or some are, asking to be allowed to live in their homelands.

    What is wrong with that.

  20. “Back on topic. Did I see somewhere today that Abbott will spend X amount of time visiting Aboriginal communities ”

    A lot of people would find that a bit of a holiday each year.

  21. Wonder how many meetings the lady spent with Mr. Abbott last week.

    Kathy Jackson, I suspect is more involved than she lets on.

    This lady was told to shut up by the union.

    She is setting up a web site.

  22. Catching Up
    Just saw that, not sure what to make of it. Lots of veiled threats, no information. But it’ll be one more pressure point that’ll be applied.

  23. Bob, I say the lady does protest too much.

    Mr. Abbott today at the NPC was not asked a question on Mr. Thompson, so somehow he introduced the subject in his answer to the last question. He had a smirked, as only Mr. Abbott can on his face.

    I would not trust this lady as far as I can throw her. She was there, along with her ex-husband, I think, before during and after Mr. Thompson’s reign.

    It is my bet that FWA has been investigating much more than Mr. Thompson in the las

    Sorry for disrailing a very good, in fact excellent post. I should have went to Open Thread.

  24. Min @ 7.22pm,

    Mr. Business went to church,
    never missed a Sunday,
    but Mr. Business went to hell
    for what he did on Monday.

  25. re tabots insensitive comments, this sums it up perfectly

    This reflects a surprising amount of ignorance. It is one thing to reject a protest’s concerns. It is another thing entirely to claim that a protest is no longer necessary because completely irrelevant things have changed. It is rather as though one were to say to a group of women protesting for paid parental leave, that their protest was redundant because, after all, women got the vote so long ago, and even abortion was legal. This kind of patronising dismissal would presumably get some kind of analysis, if it were directed at people who matter. However, Abbott’s condescending words were only targeted at Indigenous Australians, so there’s no need to try to understand why anyone would feel angry at him.

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3802766.html

  26. I only caught the kathy jackson interview as a background to household matters.

    Did notice that she said she wouldn’t say if she thought the Government was interfering with the investigation, although, she thought they were 😯

    Also, did miss ulman (cough), as they discussed the ongoing investigation into Thompson, raise the issue of the corresponding investigation into jackson herself by the same crowd? I thought it may have been relevant.

    Perhaps it was lost in all my distractions here? 😉

  27. Tom R
    No, only matters damaging to Thompson & Gillard were up for discussion. Presumably Ms Jackson enjoys the presumption of innocence.

  28. Tom R and CU

    yep FWA did an investigation of kathy jackson and i gather she only found out about that when she was asked to submit a statement to them. that was a shock to her and hence the new line by her tonight. funny how abbott knew about her new claims before the press

  29. Pip, that reminds me of my mother born 1907 and bought up in small business such as bakeries etc.

    She would point out that if you wanted to know how honest the local business man was, you looked at where he sat at Mass.

    The closer the altar, the less trustworthy. Now she could have been joking but I do not think so,

    The problem is that Mr. Abbott goes to the same area every year.

    He always makes sure the cameras are around.

    The Aboriginal community varies from region to regions. Their politics are as varied as ours.

    Their is not one spokesman. There cannot be as the difference in lifestyles is great.

    None share the same background or upbringing.

    He did sound upset that many thought he was cold hearted, did he not.

  30. “Abbott’s condescending words were only targeted at Indigenous Australians, s”

    He is not only condescending to Indigenous people, he is the same to any that do not agree or are outside his immediate vicinity.

    His comment that there will be full employment, whether they are on wages or work for the dole is value laden.

    The worse thing is that he has no conception that he treats people this way.

  31. I suspect that Uhlman may also been at some of those meetings, the ones that kept Mr. Abbott from travelling across the country for photo ops.

  32. The Romans in fact brought with them a strange Middle Eastern religion called Christianity and celebrated every year the birth of their originator on 25 December and several of its `Saint’s Days’. So to follow your argument to its logical conclusion, lets not celebrate Christmas either.

    Sorry to nitpick Jarl, but I think you’ll find that the Romans didn’t get the Jesus thing ’till long after they’d left Britain.

    Constantine and all that.

  33. “………….This reflects a surprising amount of ignorance. It is one thing to reject a protest’s concerns. It is another thing entirely to claim that a protest is no longer necessary because completely irrelevant things have changed. It is rather as though one were to say to a group of women protesting for paid parental leave, that their protest was redundant because, after all, women got the vote so long ago, and even abortion was legal. This kind of patronising dismissal would presumably get some kind of analysis, if it were directed at people who matter. However, Abbott’s condescending words were only targeted at Indigenous Australians, so there’s no need to try to understand why anyone would feel angry at him………

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/3802766.html

  34. To add to the previous.

    Astonishingly, Abbott called the protesters un-Australian. That is, Abbott called Indigenous protesters un-Australian. I think it is hard to exaggerate how audacious and offensive such a comment is.

  35. Funny, but if anyone is asked to nominate something uniquely Australian they more than likely will select the Aborigine.

  36. One thing about Abbott’s grandstanding about spending one week each year in an Aboriginal community is: Who invited him?

    Isn’t that rather bad manners of Tony Abbott to believe that he can just barge into any Aboriginal community according to any whim of his?

  37. Maybe he would be better placed to invite a family to his home, to show them how he lives, and maybe they can aspire to his lifestyle.

    I do not have to visit once a year to see how bad things are.

    I also do not believe they are going to tell him what they want. If they do, they do, not represent all Indigenous people.
    .

    He proved by his words last week, he is not interested in listening to others.

    Mr. Abbott has spurned those who the Embassy represent.

    No wonder the three children have concerns about how Gina is controlling and spending their heritage. They are so concerned, they have taken her to court.

  38. Sadly, Roswell, I doubt there’d be any full-blooded Aborigines remaining.

    Only sad from an anthropological viewpoint, Migs.

    There’s some DNA in that stock that I wouldn’t mind a bit of.

    Spreading it about is the only sure way to preserve it.

  39. While I agree with some of what you said I have to take you up on the comments Abbott made regarding how Indigenous Australians are held. You don’t have to go far to hear and see that Abbott’s comments about the respect with which Indigenous Australians are held is complete and utter rubbish. Just read any of the comments pages for articles carrying the story on 27 January.

    If they were held with such respect as Abbott suggested then Abbott would have thought harder about his comments. They aren’t mild when, as you point out, the day celebrates the invasion of a country already inhabited.

    How can people move on when the invasion is yet to be addressed?

    Tony Abbott will have known that such comments, on a day that many Indigenous Australian see as a day celebrating invasion, will have caused offense.

  40. Alex, that is precisely the argument put forward here. Abbott’s argument was that the Aboriginal people are now ‘respected’ and so it’s time to move on ‘from that’.

    Job done, mission accomplished. It is no wonder that many Aboriginal people took great offence.

  41. Hello Alex, good to see you.

    My use of the word ‘mild’ was tongue in cheek, though I did think long and hard before settling on it.

  42. Bron, welcome to the Café. I believe that we certainly do have the potential to be the best country in the world, all that it requires is the will to create equality for all. Sadly, the shock jock types are intent on creating only division.

  43. Good to be here Miglo, Min and everyone. Really enjoy reading across the material you guys post here but I just *had* to respond to this piece.

    Sorry if I sounded a little harsh but I’ve been responding all over the place to blog posts about Australia Day 2012. But you do make a great point about the need to make sure that whatever day we denote as “Australia Day” should be wholly inclusive.

    Friends and I have talked about the date of Australia Day and we’ve come to the conclusion that perhaps the best day is the date of federation, the date we became one nation rather than separate colonies.

    Tom R – glad you found my blog worth reading 🙂

  44. Alex, your blog is always worth reading 😀

    A small problem, just to my mind about Federation Day..is that it happens to be New Year’s Day. I remember several New Year Days past, and further celebrations were most definitely off the agenda.

  45. I must say, I do like that design for a new Australian flag. Just purely from a design point of view, I would delete the white line down the middle so as to simplify it a little. Otherwise..perfect.

  46. Thanks Min.

    Yes I can see you’re point about it being New Year’s Day but I think that’s even more cause to celebrate. Maybe a compromise is to have it on January 2. It’s an extra day off.

  47. I don’t mind Jan 2 as a more appropriate day, though mind you, the perfect date will be in celebration of the day we become a republic.

    Wouldn’t it be a scream if it were to be Jan 1?

  48. Alex, I’m glad you read our blogs here. Having a look at your site earlier I see you’ve attracted some Cafe patrons. Gosh they have taste. 🙂

  49. Another small problem..that would mean that everyone would have to be recalled back to Canberra, pollies plus staff from their holiday break.

  50. The only day I can think of away from New Years day, is the day we were no longer British citizens and could travel on an Australian Passport.

    That is an important day. It was the gay we became Australians.

  51. I found this article interesting..

    The Crown doesn’t legally own anything in Australia because Queen Victoria and the House of Lords said so in an 1875 Act.

    Nor were the Australian colonies of the time “to derogate from the rights of the tribes or people inhabiting such islands or places, or of chiefs or rulers thereof”.

    The startling findings are cited in a media release by Michael Anderson, Aboriginal activist and last surviving member of the four young Black Power men who started the Tent Embassy in Canberra in 1972.

    http://www.treatyrepublic.net/node/885

  52. Yet, Min, in 1875 the Crown considered Aborigines to be their subjects, as opposed to the Aboriginaes being a nation within a nation, so to speak.

  53. Terra Nullius has been long cited as the reason why the Aboriginal people were never provided with any form of treaty and associated compensation for lands taken – that is, one cannot enter into a treaty with “no one” – however, isn’t this at odds with the Crown stating that Aborigines were to be treated as a subjects of the Crown.

    Clearly, every person who is a subject of the Crown is entitled to compensation, otherwise taking land/resources is “theft”.

    That is, if Aborigines are subjects, they are entitled to compensation – but if a nation within a nation, then they are entitled to a Treaty.

  54. Roswell, exactly the same. Whether it is deprived of a Treaty or deprived of adequate compensation, the Aboriginal people ended up deprived of the respect due to them.

    It made my blood boil when I first heard Tony Abbott suggest that the people should “move on”, that this should be put in the past. Might I suggest to Tony Abbott that people do need recovery time and it is not long, and certainly within the memory of many, of the time when lubra baiting was considered a sport, when they weren’t even counted as ‘people’ in the census.

    Black Steam Train provided a description of his parents’ experience, and this first hand account should be read by those who suggest that Aboriginal people should just get over it all.

  55. Miglo, the diehard monarchists will disappear with time along with the old attitudes about the anachronism of “royalty”.

    My wish, when that day arrives, is to not throw the baby out with the bathwater and wind up in a position where we could have a dictator like umm,,,Abbott… Hancock…

  56. Well Migs, one could put a tiny inset in the lower right hand corner of the Union Jack. That should keep them happy.

    Canada does well with a maple leaf. Tells us all we need to know.

  57. Pip, I do not hear anyone describe the UK as the mother or old country that was common when I was a kid. You know, the country you once travelled to a a British Citizen.

    They no longer let us in as such anymore, unless I believe you have one UK born parent, or is it grandparent.

    An oversea expert on ABC24 just said that Australia is you know a country that has none or very little debt. How can so many people be so wrong, when Mr. Abbott tells us this is not true.

  58. Cu, having married an Italian once I never heard things like the mother country, but this was common: “Backa da home in the olda country where my mama she was a born, God he came a from the heavens to try my mama’s pizzas”.

  59. Miglo, it was always that we are going to the mother or old country. Never to England.

    This came from people who back ground was several generations in this country.

    If one reads anything on Mr. Menzies, one will soon realise his heart and loyalty belonged to the Mother country.

    Of course to some, having no respect, called it the Old Dart. I do not know much about that.

    Yes, as Australians, we have came a long way since Whitlams day.

  60. “Bacca da home in the old country where my mama she was a born,”

    Miglo, I bet you did not hear many of her kids repeating the same sentiments.

  61. Cu, I don’t have one drop of English blood 🙂

    I’m more interested in the Battle of the Boyne and the Scottish crofters being shafted .

  62. Pip, in spite of all my mob coming pre 1860, I have very little English blood as well.

    No convicts either, but my ex’ family makes up for that.

    There is much Irish, from both sides and French. One great grandmother from England.

    Suspect that my father’s Northern Irish blood might have come originally from Scotland, but that is a guess.

    They came from small business and farming stock. Very little connection to the cities as well.

  63. Cu, @ 7.29pm, 2nd…

    the Scots were imported to Ireland to change the demographics, and didn’t that go well !!

    Miglo, there’s not too much wrong with Yorkshiremen 🙂

  64. PIP, I t hought for most of my life until I did a family tree, that my father’s family were from Scotland. Big surprise to find this was not so.

    That was another question I did not think to ask my father.

    Yes, Yorkshire is not too bad, that is unless you came across my ex’s family.

  65. Cu, I’ve heard so many people say, after their relatives have died,
    “I wish I’d thought to ask…”
    It’s so much more complicated rifling thorough old records…..

    you never quite know what will turn up 😯

  66. I was lucky, I was a family historian before the custodian of the Lucas side of the family, my Auntie May passed away. She used to go to all of the back to Tungamah’s and gave all of her information to me. I think that dear Auntie May was quite chuffed to have found someone in the family who was interested.

    My research stopped abruptly with my ggg/grandfather George Lucas (b1801) who was baseborn to Hannah Lucas. However whoever George’s father was he was well to do, plus nice bloke as he set Hannah up with her own business, no small thing for those days. This was in Thornbury, Gloucestershire.

    I have a silver snuff box with the initials engraved JWL and have traced the silvermark to 1837 Gloucestershire.

  67. There are probably 12 million females in Australia, at least half would be adults, half of those would be healthy, intelligent and articulate enough to be a politician. So the question remains why did Labor choose Gillard?

  68. Min, if we take last night’s example of Senator Kroger, it is going to be an eternity before they have a female with the ability to lead the party.

    They are generally arrogant and puffed up with their own self importance as Senator Cash or have little ability as Ms. Bishop, the younger. What they seem to have in common, is the ability to be nasty and bitchy. One should never forget the skills of Ms. Mirabella.

    They do not have the depth of talent that Labor has.

  69. I remember when Tony Abbott was asked if he was considering any changes to his shadow ministry and he answered No (what else would he answer…) but that this was going to be the team that he would take to the next election. Heaven help the poor Liberals, imagine being on a team with absolutely zero chance of any changes happening, not a scrap of a chance for promotion.

  70. Min, if what Mr. Abbott now has on his front bench, what does that say for those on the back bench. One cannot wait for the 21 year old to grow up.

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