Monday, 27 January 2020

Australia Day has been

and gone for 2020. 
There has been the usual fuss about barbecues, beer, citizenship ceremonies, whether it is "invasion" day and much more. It was a quiet day in this house. It was a quiet day in our street. 
Our neighbours across the road are New Zealanders. Next door there is someone who is South Korean. Her neighbour is of Italian extraction. The man who lives further on is of German extraction. On one side of us the mother is Hungarian. On the other side the couple comes from Taiwan.
You get the idea? Downunder, they proudly tell us, is the "most successful multi-cultural country in the world".  I don't agree. It is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world but it is not a multi-cultural country. 
There is plenty of cultural diversity but there is only one legal system - for now.  Many different languages are spoken but there is only one official language - English. In order to be multi-cultural we would need the big things like more than one legal system and more than one language (and education system) to be in place.
I know that might sound as if I am "splitting hairs" (or cat's whiskers perhaps) but I really felt as if there was nothing to celebrate yesterday. It really didn't help that the news gave as much time, if not more, to people protesting that the day was "invasion day".  Changing the date won't help there. 
Brother Cat taught the politician who was suggesting children should be taught to swear allegiance to Downunder.  She isn't old enough to remember the old Friday "School Assembly" sessions in which we chanted, "I am an Australian. I love my country. I salute her flag. I honour her Queen. I promise to obey her laws." Then we would sing "God Save the Queen" and "the Song of Australia". I never felt comfortable doing it. That was long before Downunder became so culturally diverse. I went all the way through my infant and junior school years doing that and even now I cringe at what we were asked to do.  I don't think getting children to swear allegiance now is going to work any sort of miracle of acceptance. Do we really need a day like this?


Anonymous said...

I am suspicious about things being down by rote rather than by conviction, and children are too young to have sufficient judgment.


Jodiebodie said...

I too remember school assemblies in the 70s in another state where we had to sing "Advance Australia Fair", "Song of Australia" and finish with "God Save the Queen".

My children have expressed a preference for the more modern song that is currently being used in TV Network Trailers "We are one, but we are many, and from all the lands on earth we come, we share a dream, and sing with one voice, I am, you are, we are Australian." They like it because it is a more accurate reflection of modern Australia and has a unifying message (unlike the divisive rhetoric we are getting from certain politicians, media and others).