Seven sins of the change-Australia-Day movement
They are backed by violent protesters, but let me list the reasons they are wrong.
1. Changing the date solves nothing. Many protesters are angry that Australia was “invaded” by the British. But that “invasion” happened, as did all that flowed from that. Denial won’t change that fact.
2. Changing the date does not “heal wounds”. The protesters – largely of the Left and of the Aboriginal grievance industry – cannot be appeased. They rely on being forever angry and feeling like victims. Australia has already issued a formal apology to Aborigines, apologised for the “stolen generations”, held annual “Sorry Days” and handed over a third of Australia to various forms of Aboriginal land title. Now both major parties are even discussing giving Aborigines different and superior rights under the constitution. Shifting the date of Australia Day will simply further legitimise the demands of the grievance industry and lead to yet more – including, ultimately, self-government and a form of apartheid. This would be a disaster for us all.
3. Changing the date will encourage more fake history. Many protesters claim Australia Day celebrates “genocide” and cruelties such as the “stolen generations”. In fact, there was no genocide in Australia since colonisation, and the “stolen generations” are a wild exaggeration or myth, as I have demonstrated here. (Don’t sue me for saying so. Simply argue back by, say, naming even 10 children stolen simply for being Aboriginal.)
The brutal fact is that while many Aborigines did suffer from colonisation – not least because of imported diseases – most today now lead lives immeasurably richer, freer and less painful as a result. Many now have some reason to feel grateful for European civilisation, despite the pain that came with it. There is in fact a reason why no Aborigine today chooses to live as their pre-colonisation ancestors did. It is time to recognise the truth of our history – that Aborigines were not merely victims of British colonisation.
4. Changing the date will encourage even more false division on the grounds of “race”. The change-the-date lobby tends to insist on sharp divisions between Aborigines and non-Aborigines, when the truth is in fact far more complex. Most Aborigines today have European ancestors as well as Aboriginal. In their very person they represent both the “victim” and the “oppressor”. Take Labor frontbencher Linda Burney, who today attacked Australia Day as “Invasion Day”. Her mother was of Scottish ancestry and Linda herself was raised by her Scottish grandparents. Her story is not unusual: more than half of married Aborigines married non-Aborigines. It misrepresents history and the lived reality of many Aborigines today to insist that history has divided us into separate categories of victims and oppressors, as defined by our “race”.
5. Changing the date will help those of the Left who deny history – specifically the fact that much that makes Australian society so free and rich is in fact the legacy of British settlement. Virtually none of it comes from Aboriginal settlement. This is why anti-capitalists and Greens are so dominant in the change-the-date movement.
6. Changing the date will undermine the many Aborigines who see no problem with acknowledging Australia Day. Aboriginal leaders such as Robert Isaacs wisely say it’s time to “get past the hurts of the past”, and trashing Australia Day is merely “causing division”.
7. Changing Australia Day will stop us from acing up to the real problems holding back Aboriginal Australians. It is not just more displaced activity, but more sand in the eyes. So much of what the Left demands is like this, from Sorry marches, apologies and demands now for separate seats in Parliament for Aborigines. So much of this is a substitute for doing anything practical about the real challenges facing many Aboriginal Australians – unemployment, poor educational results and high levels of domestic violence, alcohol abuse, child abuse and crime. This agenda falsely assumes that the key problem holding back Aboriginal Australians is white racism and not Aboriginal culture. This is deadly So many Aboriginal children have paid dearly for this denialism, some with their lives, after our removal of Aboriginal children from danger was widely damned as evidence of white racism rather than of black neglect.
Yes, let’s learn about our past and our history, but how is changing the date going to do a thing for the Aboriginal women dying at the hands of Aboriginal men, the Aboriginal children who miss out on school and an education and the Aboriginal children who are living in dysfunctional circumstances?
[If the date was changed] “there will be something else for the Aboriginal middle class activists and guilt-ridden white fellas to be offended about.