What does Australia Day mean to me?
I wish to acknowledge the custodians of this land, To the Elders past and present. I acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this land
- The 26th of January commemorates the landing of Captain Cook on these shores and the commencement of white settlement in this land.
- This day is known by the First Australians as Invasion Day the beginning of a period of division, deprivation, war, ongoing breaches of human rights, and genocide.
These facts cannot be changed or undone in any way – this is the history of white settlement in Australia.
- By accident of birth, I am a white Australian female.
- Well educated, middle-class background. I am retired, a full-time student, a wife, and a grandmother.
- I understand I speak from a position of white privilege.
- I am a 5th generation born in this land
How do we move forward
- I don’t know – I acknowledge the facts that this land I call my home was invaded and thousands and thousands were massacred and that prejudice and injustice remain part of the society we live in.
- I am sorry for all of these actions
- I do acknowledge the collective responsibility of all citizens and governments for past actions.
- I acknowledge the actions of the succeeding governments that have not been inclusive of our First Australians and have restricted their place in the democratic processes of government
- Our First Australians MUST have the same rights and obligations and be treated as full citizens of this bountiful land.
- These rights and responsibilities MUST be enshrined in law
- Prejudice and deprivation MUST be abolished
- All of us need to work together to move forward – it is impossible to turn back the clock, and we can work for inclusiveness, freedom from discrimination and learn to share this beautiful land together.
- I was excited to learn that maybe, my great great grandfather, was possibly a Boon Wurrung man and so disappointed to discover he wasn’t.
- I wonder at the sense of belonging to country that our First Australians feel – I would love to have that deep and abiding understanding connection to this land.
- I do have a sense of wonder at having had the honour of being born in this great country.
- I feel like the adopted child –I am fortunate because, my forbearers – made a conscious decision to make this beautiful place their home.
What I cannot do
- I can’t change the past
- I can’t change the colour of my skin
- I can’t feel your pain because I am not you.
What I can do
- I can speak up about Aboriginal deaths in custody
- I can condemn racial profiling
- I can lobby and speak out
- against oppression and prejudice
- for greater improvement in the provision of education
- for better delivery of heath services
- for better living standards
- I can become better informed about how I may help others understand the need for true reconciliation
- I can denounce racist attitudes
- I can refuse to laugh at racist jokes
- I can refuse to discriminate against people because of the colour of their skin
- I can acknowledge the acts of the past and present and say I am sorry that these have occurred and mean that statement with my whole being
- I can empathise and support
I believe change is possible and that it starts with you and me
Healing in this country requires a lot of love, courage, and honesty and the belief it is possible. Where there is true care, there is very little division.
—Official website of the movie Kanyini
Today I pay homage to one of the greatest Australians I have ever met, a proud Yorta Yorta man Sir Douglas Nicholls.
He was born in Cumeroogunga, near the Murray River in New South Wales, and was Australia’s first Indigenous state governor.(1906–1988)