As we watch with varying degrees of disgust, impotence, and annoyance at the events in Eastern Europe – where a peaceful nation is being attacked by a hegemony-driven more powerful neighbor – we would do well to consider the close historical ties Australia has with the people of Poland and the example these determined and proud Poles have been in fighting for freedom over hundreds of years.
The freedom we have held so dear and for which our forefathers fought and died, we now squander in return for government hand-outs and acceptance of ever-increasing government regulation.
Recent governments have sold our freedom as a people, our freedom as a sovereign nation, and our personal freedom to a suffocating host of United Nations bureaucracies who tell us how we run our country.
The love of freedom that underpins our culture stems from our settlement of Australia by convicts. Convicts who were prepared to work for their freedom, and then become part of an egalitarian society where everyone strived to improve themselves regardless of their background. While healthy competition was rife, caring for your mates and for each other became the Australian way. Mateship and kinship were fostered and expected. These were the foundation on which we built this now productive and prosperous nation. This was, and still is, the basis of Aussie Culture.
It was Mateship that kept us going in the trenches of the first world war and on the Kokoda Track in the second. It is Mateship that makes life bearable in times of hardship caused by flood, drought, and fire.
I passionately believe our culture is based on the singular – not multi – egalitarian ethos embedded by our first settlers. It is founded in a unity of purpose that integrated everyone involved in the development of this vast, rich land we call home. That we are multi-ethnic should be obvious to all, but multi-cultural we are not.
Competing cultures have had a divisive, not unifying, impact in recent years. Keeping hold of varied cuisine is one thing, but cultural norms and expectations must be shared by a nation – as was the case previously – or Australia will start to crumble under incoherency and mutually exclusive cultural impasses that have torn other parts of the world asunder.
We have seen a similar breakdown with Indigenous affairs, particularly for those living in remote settlements. Activism has undone the successes of the past by indulging initiatives that drift away from integration and instead favour cultural separatism. Prior to the activist bureaucracy, natural integration through marriage, relationships, and employment helped knit our peoples together – unifying and adapting to the wider Australian culture. Left to continue, it would have been successful.
Calls for a separate voice in Parliament for Indigenous people is contrary to what we are, who we are and the open democratic society we have established. Since the establishment of the Australian Federation in 1901, Indigenous people have the same rights as every other Australian to stand for Parliament and to represent the Australian people in our Parliament.
Just as irksome is the recent introduction of ‘welcome to country’ ceremonies. Such a practice is ignorant of our history and an insult to every other Australian; all of whom can rightly call Australia home, but are made to feel like guests. Please note Dominic Perrottet, we have one Australian flag and not several with which you can make hollow gestures.
Sadly, the Australian larrikin – who dipped his lid to no man and voiced his freedom with words that may offend – is now hard to find. He is falsely accused of racism and intolerance and as a result his freedom has been stripped away, at times by legislation, banning what is disingenuously called ‘hate speech’.
It was the ‘wandering Pole’ Paul Strzelecki, who – in company with grazier James MacArthur, in March 1840 – identified a cone-shaped granite outpost as likely the highest peak in Australia. Strzelecki said, ‘That peak reminds me of the tumulus over the tomb of my countryman, Tadeusz Kosciuszko in Krakow. He fought and died for Poland’s freedom; therefore, I name this Mount Kosciuszko, because here in this foreign country I am among free people.’
Strzelecki was later to write to his sweetheart Aleksandryna Turno in Poland these beautiful words.
Here is a flower from Mount Kosciuszko, the highest peak in Australia and the first in the new world bearing a Polish name. I believe that you will be the first Polish woman to have a flower from that mountain. Let it remind you ever of freedom, patriotism and love. The highest peak in the Australian Alps. With its everlasting snows, the silence and dignity with which it is surrounded. I have reserved and consecrated it as a reminder for future generations upon this continent of a name hallowed to every Pole, to every human, to every friend of freedom and honour. – Kosciuszko.
Strzelecki, with his passionate words had linked the new nation of Australia to freedom. Freedom of spirit, freedom of enterprise, and freedom of the individual. We were thus blessed and thankfully have been resolute enough to defend those freedoms when they were under threat.
But, as Ronald Reagan has reminded us; ‘Freedom is a fragile thing and it’s never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance. It must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation.’
As I sadly watch the Australian government give away our freedom by kowtowing to the dictates of UN agencies and then see our leaders disavow the truth by claiming that Climate Change is the greatest problem we face and that it can be countered by a move to renewable power sources, this old Bushy knows we the people have lost our freedom. The Aussie larrikin who in the past would have said ‘bulldust’ to that, is now silent. He is impotent because he has lost his voice and with it his capacity to change things. He is no longer free.
When a nation loses its freedom, it can only be regained by social conflict.
Just ask the people of Poland.
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