What’s so happy about Australia Day?

Bogan Pride day has come around once more, and I have my own opinions on this day, I guess every Australian has an opinion on it. either for or against the day, if it should be this day or another day, why was the long week-end taken away, the talk is endless.

I wasn’t going to post anything about the day, except for sharing the words of Stan Grant. I loved his speech, if you haven’t heard it, google it or look at the previous post which has a link. His words are great he is talking about the history that Aboriginal people share. He spoke about this terrible history of the nation that is overlooked because it is unpalatable.

Let me firmly state my view, I don’t think the 26th is really a day to represent this nation, I am all for ANZAC day or the anniversary of Federation. Why keep a divisive day as the national day. Don’t think that it is only Aboriginal people who don’t like this day.  We have our reasons, but this day has been marked over and over again by racist attacks on people from many other nations.

The Bondi riots were not the first time racial tensions had been raised on this day.  I have spoken before of my fears around this day. This time of the year, so many Aboriginal people are verbally or physically attacked in the name of nationhood. I have, like many other non white parents, a fear for my children when they go out. My son has been verbally abused as he works security, and luckily for them, he ignores them.

But I digress, why have I decided to write about this date? Well the easy answer is I am pissed off. I had a medical appointment yesterday, I entered the hospital rooms for the visit. I was surrounded by gum leaves, koala’s and little Australian flags strung up like Christmas lights. This was going overboard, really did the branches need to be plucked from the tree in the name of this farce? I slowly ventured to the counter, knowing that I was out of my comfort zone, gave the information and had another lady all happy and chirpy, wish me a happy Australia Day…Really? This is an event that we wish each other good tidings?

As I turned to find a seat in the crowded waiting room, I scanned the place something wasn’t right, but I just couldn’t think what. Maybe it was that my senses were assailed with the Australian vibe. As I waited and looked around the walls to read the posters and signs that I have read a dozen times before, it struck me, what was wrong. The flags!

They place always has the Australian flag, Aboriginal flag and the Torres Strait Islands flag. Today the Australia flag was spread out and covering the other flags. You might think this is not a big issue, but to me it was. This is disrespectful to the people who were here first. This is dismissive of the Reconciliation moves which are why government offices etc have the three flags.

I, ever polite, went up to the counter and said, “um I think the wind has blown the middle flag, and it’s covering the other flags”. The lady behind the counter, told me “It’s for Australia Day, we opened the Australian flag”. Miss Chirpy pants joined in, all smiles and fake Blonde hair, fake tan and fake nails (okay I am being a bit snarky) She gushed at me that it is just a bit of fun and to brighten up people’s day and getting into the spirit of the day, or words to that effect.

I took a deep breath and said under the legislation you can’t cover up the Aboriginal and Torres Strait flags with the Australian flag. Okay you and I know that I lied, but I was betting on chirpy pants not knowing. I was then subjected to a history lesson on how much good has been done in Australia. I don’t deny that some wonderful things have happened in this country, I also think some wonderful people are here.

My problem is that someone would cover the other flags and not think it inappropriate. That anybody would not consider the Aboriginal and Torres Strait flags, just as important as the Australian flag, or that they do not represent Australia, just as much as the other flag, that has the Union Jack.

I guess I am just annoyed at the ignorance and the ingrained bigotry. I don’t think the English or the American flag would have been covered up, so why cover up these flags? They are recognised flags of recognised people. If a person can be proudly Italian Australian, why can’t we be proudly Aboriginal Australian? Why do we get pushed to the side?

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About proudblacksista

An Aboriginal woman. mother of 4 diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour 7 years ago.I want to share my story to help others. I am working to help other Aboriginal people face the battles of Cancer. Email me with your stories or concerns at aboriginalcancer.com View all posts by proudblacksista

2 responses to “What’s so happy about Australia Day?

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