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Unhappy Australia Day


The writer is in Australia.

ON JUST about every issue you can think of in Australia today, there seem to be two semi-armed camps with little interest in compromise and a total war mindset. From Aboriginal affairs and energy policy to climate emergencies and Covid vaccines, it is pistols at dawn. Take no prisoners. Never sue for peace. Never accept defeat, even on issues that seem to have been well and truly settled. Like the endless broken record that is the demand for a Republic.

Australia Day has become well and truly caught up in the warfare ‘Happy January 26’ seems the safest thing for any Australian to say to another with the nation so hopelessly divided and descending into cold civil war. Every other day seems to be Aborigines Day now. 

For the record, I have never been that enamoured of celebrating AD on January 26. It seems to me that date is Sydney Day. I have never understood why, say, a Victorian, would get remotely excited about commemorating the day Arthur Phillip and a bunch of (mostly petty) criminals came ashore at Sydney Cove. (My great-great-great-grandfather, Pierce Collits, who arrived in 1801, had got seven years for receiving a very minor amount of stolen calico).  

A more unifying date for celebrating our nationhood, for both Aborigines and non-Aborigines alike, would in theory be January 1, the day in 1901 that we became one nation. Before that, we were a bunch of colonies. (Some might argue after the experience of ludicrous border closures during Covid that we still are a bunch of colonies). No doubt it would be seen as a victory for the self-important Aboriginal industry, and who among the deplorables wants that?

Mind you, this sense of embedded social conflict over things like our national day may simply be a false impression one gets from the chattering classes, the dripping wets – as we used to call the woke – and those with group-based axes to grind who delight in engaging in iconoclasm and in fomenting rebellion. They speak very often and very loudly; you cannot turn on a radio or read a news report without hearing from them. You might say they have the only voice. Out there in normal-land, where people gather for barbecues and such and generally enjoy fellowship on January 26 – some even still dare to fly a flag which will likely soon be seen as a revolutionary (or possibly a racist) act – these debates probably seem very remote and very arcane. If that was all there is to it – but it isn’t that straightforward.

Councils are now refusing to hold citizenship ceremonies on AD. Aboriginal Invasion Day protests clog up streets and open spaces (the ABC helpfully publishes all the times and places of Invasion Day rallies on its web site). God knows what today’s schoolchildren are told to think about AD. All these things diminish the event and all that it signifies. That is, of course, the intention of those who set out to destroy what they see as the evil of patriotism, another scalp for those who want the whole show to come crushing down, to be rebuilt from the ground up, in their image. Like faith and family, the nation is to be obliterated by the cultural revolutionaries and their useful idiots in the agenda-setting institutions who increasingly determine the content of our lives. The gloves are off, and we are in a war that the other side does not intend to give up on, or lose.

We all get to live the lives that are placed in front of us. All sorts of groups have suffered injustices. I don’t get to lament what might have been, two centuries ago, if only X and not Y had happened. I don’t get to claim the mantle of group rights, and stake claims against the crimes perpetrated against my Irish forebears by the awful English. That’s history. Instead let’s take some recent ones that the ABC might get exercised about if it had its moral compass pointing in the right direction.

·         The unemployed unvaccinated await justice.  

·         The Covid gauleiters still walk free. They should be in prison.  

·         The late Cardinal George Pell, a hero of the Church and a true friend, who endured unbelievable suffering as the victim of a malicious plot.

The history of the world is a history of greater and lesser unresolved injustices, and of not much else. By good fortune and a little liberalism on our part, Australia dodged much of this. Two centuries of relative peace and harmony are now up for grabs, as those with an interest in subverting our history and heritage, imperfect as it has been, set out to divide our people and destroy our culture, one institution at a time.  

Half a century back, Anzac Day (April 25) was under siege from the usual suspects. In 1958 Alan Seymour wrote a play about it called The One Day of the Year. That was about our warmongering.  Declared to be ‘over’, Anzac Day subsequently made an almighty comeback. Will Australia Day?

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Paul Collits
Paul Collits
Paul Collits is a freelance writer and regular contributor to Quadrant Online

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