I’m going to be straight up and say I haven’t always cared much about Australia Day. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’ve always enjoyed the public holiday because a day not at work is a day worth celebrating. But I haven’t given much thought to what or why Australia Day was. I haven’t been particularly sympathetic or empathetic or any other -etic to the Invasion Day part of the debate. Hey, it was day off and that’s all I was interested in.
These days I have my old spark back. I’ve got my cranky pants on about a lot of things; let’s be frank… there’s a lot of things to be cranky about. Politics, the environment, climate change, politics, asshats masquerading as global leaders, gender issues, religion (and it’s dirty snout in social issues)… um, that’s probably sufficient for now.
So I’ve been thinking again about Australia Day and why we can’t just change it. Australia wasn’t in any way “discovered” on 26 January. It was already here and being managed quite well for a bloody long time. On that day things started to turn just a little bit shit for the people who’d been here before the white folk came along and “fixed it”. So it’s understandable why the indigenous people of this land don’t find it a great date to commemorate. They call it Invasion Day and I think that’s fair enough.
I heard a man on the radio this morning saying we should keep the date because it’s a date to reflect on the shit white folk have done to the people and the land we now call Australia. A date to maybe rub our noses in it, so to speak. I think that arguement has a bit of merit. Most public holidays are actually days for reflection if you think about it. ANZAC Day (war), Easter (something about baby Jesus on the cross, biting off chocolate bunny ears), New Year’s Day (massive hangovers).
But if Australia Day is meant to be a day of celebration, a day of saying “look it’s not perfect, lots of fuck ups along the way but here we all are muddling along, doing best we can” then I think we need a date everyone can get behind (OK, there’s always going to be someone who hates any particular date for their own personal reasons – but I think we can come to some sort of rough consensus).
Maybe we can pick some suitable dates and have a plebiscite (fuck knows we’ve got all the spreadsheets and envelopes ready to go on that one). Maybe we can go with the date the Swans won their first grand final, just a suggestion people. Maybe we can go with Frank Turner’s birthday… OK he’s not an Australian so I may be out on a limb here but just offering ideas.
Or maybe we can just enact my general Public Holiday Revamp Scheme whereby all general Public Holidays are scrapped and we just get the extra days as annual leave to use as we please. Day off for your birthday? No problem. Long weekend to binge your favourite Netflix show? Why not.
Because seriously I DON’T CARE ABOUT JESUS’ BIRTHDAY or JESUS’ ON THE CROSS/OFF THE CROSS/ZOMBIE DAY. I DON’T CARE ABOUT LIZZIES’ BIRTHDAY (which isn’t even her birthday FFS, what is that even about??!!).
Have I got off topic? Possibly. Anyhoo… let’s scrap 26 January, pick another day, move on. Better still scrap all the dates, chuck everyone some extra annual leave and move on.
Problem solved. You’re welcome.