The ongoing political debate about whether the 26th of January ought to be called ‘Australia Day’ or ‘Invasion Day’ has led us to an uncomfortable national stalemate.
Our perspectives are polarised. Those of us who recognise that this date is overwhelmingly offensive to our Indigenous population, given that we are literally “cheers-ing” to genocide, do not know what to do. We feel awkward. Between Violent Soho and Flume in the Triple J Hottest 100, we think “gull – I should probably stop having so much fun. Should I go and…reflect or something? Am I being a white supremacist? Should I be protesting? Is it inappropriate to turn up to an ‘Invasion Day’ protest drunk off ‘Australia Day’ drinks? This is so f**ked up.”
Those who are not plagued by such cognitive dissonance, argue: “Why can’t I just celebrate bein’ ‘Strayan?” showing off their Southern Cross tattoo which adorns their severely sun damaged skin; to which we want to reply “Why are you SO sunburnt? Oh that’s right…because your grandparents are Irish. Nevermind.”
But we do not say that. Because if someone is proud of being Australian, then they are entitled to express that. They even deserve the space to express that.
France has Bastille Day.
The USA has Independence Day.
There are things that we, as Australians, can be proud of. Our gun laws. Our beaches. Russell Coight. Our inspiring feminist history. The reality that our favourite form of justice is when a racist is interrupted on public transport. Bondi Rescue. The fact we’re the only country to use the word ‘c**t’ affectionately. That Qantas ad, with the singing. Red Dog. The Castle. Our expertise in humiliating news reporters live on air.