Here’s a step towards restoring national unity as we observe Australia Day. Issue every non-Aboriginal citizen who uses the term ‘Invasion Day’ with a one-way ticket out of the country to wherever their forebears came from. It would be a double blessing. The rest of us would no longer have to listen to strident leftist voices complaining about ‘invasion’ while for the complainers there would be the advantage that the effects of British settlement they so tirelessly condemn would be partly reversed by the departure of at least some of the descendants of the ‘invaders’.
True, this would leave our inner cities near-deserted, but leftists should welcome that too if the land were made over to what the anti-Australia Day activists regard as its rightful owners (‘always was, always will be Aboriginal land’, as they like to ululate in their street demonstrations). All those expensive town houses and luxury flats, the groovy cafés and pretentious restaurants, could revert to ‘traditional ownership’. Compensation for the erstwhile owners would be unnecessary, since virtue, we know, is its own reward, and they would surely agree that undoing an ‘historic wrong’ (another phrase they employ for the foundation of our nation) would be an act of supreme virtue.
As for paying the fares, look no further than the ABC. I have long thought that conservative governments should regard that bloated organisation, the nation’s principal proselytiser of the new religion of leftist wokery, as mediaeval monarchs regarded the Church, i.e. a convenient source of ready cash when other funds run low. Divert a few million from its budget – the money belongs to taxpayers anyway – and you’d have enough for the overseas tickets, and if the ABC reacted with one of its periodic screeches about ‘cuts’ to its funding, serve it right. It’s always causing trouble, fomenting national disunity by giving a platform to cranks who want to ‘change the date’ or hand over half the country through ‘treaties’ with dubious Aboriginal pressure groups. Indeed, our national broadcaster should be pleased at being able to contribute to rectifying history at the trifling cost of a little budgetary restraint – which in practical terms need amount to nothing more than postponing one of its dead-in-the-water ‘dramas’, or cancelling the profile of some crashing bore in Australian Story. ABC hierarchs should have no problem with this. With programming bearing the brunt of the cost, Ita and her minions, and such ornaments to the corporation as the unapologetic Pell-baiter, Louise Milligan, its own Madame Defarge, would still have their gargantuan salaries intact.
Naturally there will be some among the ‘Invasion Day’ chorus who don’t want to leave. It’s hard to escape the feeling that many of those who most loudly disparage our nation and national day would rather be here doing the disparaging than somewhere else with nothing to disparage – it gives their life a purpose. To overcome such reluctance those organising the exodus would be advised not to give candidates for departure too much say in whether they stay or go. The pandemic experience will be helpful here. After two years of pushing their citizens around, all Australian governments are well schooled in the dictatorial arts, and steering indignant activists to the airport should be child’s play compared with locking down whole populations.
Some such action as I have outlined is urgent because the use of ‘Invasion Day’ is gaining ground. From Aboriginal activists it has filtered down from the hard to the softer Left, via ersatz local BLM mobs and the self-defined caring tertiary-educated intelligentsia, through the prosperous and flexible residents of Green and leafy suburbs (flexible in the sense that they would never allow their professed belief in going everywhere ‘sustainably’ by bike or bus to stand in the way of a new SUV) to the genteel pseudo-Left of church ‘social justice’ commissions and ladies who attend book clubs.
The very word ‘invasion’ gives away the game of those who promote it. They want to delegitimise Australia as a national polity by pretending that its founding was an invasion of established Aboriginal nations, an act of aggression like the Germans marching into Poland in 1939. Australia, they allege, is an occupying power on ‘stolen’ land.
Unfortunately, discouraging the use of ‘Invasion Day’ will not be enough to restore some sanity to the way we view our national history. The notion that the British settlers and their descendants ‘stole’ this country from its Aboriginal ‘owners’ has been so firmly embedded in the – particularly youthful – public mind, and will become even more so once the new national history curriculum is unleashed in schools, that it is probably indelible. Thanks to leftist educators and bureaucrats this falsehood now passes as orthodox, not radical, history. Yet it is a pointless hypothesis. Australia is not the land of tribal nomads the British arrived at in 1788. It has been settled, built up, changed out of recognition, in a way that the original inhabitants could never have imagined. It is truer to regard our history as a unique confluence of forces, with results that have been of benefit not only to the successor generations to the First Fleet but to Aboriginal Australians — if sadly too few, thanks to political blindness and stupidity. There have been tragedies and enormous difficulties but would anyone, even the educators and bureaucrats if they were honest, really want to see Australia as it is razed to the ground and returned to its pre-colonial state?
This is what makes the now universally unavoidable ‘acknowledgments of traditional owners’ and ‘welcomes to country’ a farce. Invented in the 1970s as an instant ‘Indigenous tradition’ and much promoted by leftists in bureaucratic circles, these rituals depend on the fantasy that a public gathering is taking place on someone else’s land; that out of politeness the participants, all solemn-faced with devout respect, as in an earlier age they would have been when saying grace before meals, should consider themselves in receipt of ‘hospitality’. They should look grateful as they are ‘welcomed’ to their own country. Yet the truth is, and it’s surprising that Aborigines are not offended by it, that we’re playing let’s pretend. We make believe for a moment that we are not in this country by right as citizens but by courtesy of a possum-skin-draped ‘auntie’ or ‘elders past, present and future’. The ritual over, the pretence is dropped. Any Aborigines who took things literally and sought to ‘repossess’ the university or town hall or wherever the ‘acknowledgment’ had taken place would be swiftly disillusioned. Trust leftists to invent an Aboriginal ‘custom’ that, rather than respecting, patronises Aborigines.
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