My aunt gave me a copy of my Nan’s certificate from when she officially became an Australian Citizen. Nan was so proud of this, and she had the certificate framed and hanging in the kitchen, for all to see. Nan became an Australian on the 26th of January, 1996. Australia Day.
Officially, Australia Day notes the anniversary of the landing of the First Fleet, the countdown of JJJ’s Hottest 100 and the ignition of whatever fireworks are left over after New Years. It is also a day for celebrating that cultural diversity that we have in Australia, of acknowledging Indigenous Australia, and for some reason, promoting hate speech and racial vilification.
As Australia Day nears, you’re going to be seeing a lot of racist bullshit. For example, there might be images and statuses that suggest that the day is going to be changed to Citizen’s Day. You might see memes that tell you that Australia is full, and that people need to fuck off.
We are not full.
My grandparents, my mum and my aunt all came to Australia via boat. Now, according to these memes, they should have fucked off, and are the reason why Advance Australia Fair is about to be banned (it’s not). They’re also the people who benefit from a total injustice when it comes to the distribution of pensions, according to this table:
I agree with part of this: Most people really don’t seem to realise how bad this is. Most people are just sharing this willy nilly. I think they’d tell you that they’re raising awareness. In reality? They’re stirring up dissent and hatred based on an injustice that does not exist.
Here’s another thing you see a lot of on Australia Day:
But I’ll give it a shot:
My Grandad – the one who came to Australia on a boat – when he died, his coffin was draped in a Union Jack.
He was English, and by the time Nan became an Australian Citizen, he had suffered a major stroke and wasn’t able to make the decision in an informed way. But he was a proud Englishman. He fought as a soldier, and was at the D Day Landing. He fathered two daughters, and made the heartbreaking decision to leave the country and the land he had grown up in and sail to Australia, in the hopes that they might have a chance at a better life. He witnessed countless atrocities during war times, and although the stroke (followed by a series of smaller strokes) took most of his words and ability to move, he remembered being a soldier.
He deserved to be draped in the Union Jack – in the flag of his country.
Drinking a carton of beer and wearing your single pluggers on hot tar? Being a racist? Being Australian born and bred?
These things do not give you the right to defile the Australian flag.
As a Cub leader, I know (and my Cubs, Joeys and Scouts know) the respect and reverence we need to show the flag of our nation. We do not let it touch the ground. We do not turn our back on it. We show our pride in being Australian by respecting that flag. We let it fly above us, not risk it dragging on the ground or getting trodden on. Wearing the flag as a cape mocks the pride that flag should sail with.
Please don’t wear the flag as a cape. It’s pure mockery.
I really hope that one day, there’ll be less of a push for Australia Day to be all about being AUSSIE and more about being Australian. Because in my mind, it’s unAustralian to be racist. To disrespect our flag. To entice hatred and harassment. To not give a fuck about what other people have gone through.
I’m proud of being Australian. My Nan was proud, too. So proud that she kept her Citizenship Certificate framed and hanging as a reminder. I’m not sure how many of the above images will ever be framed and looked at with pride.