January 26 means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. So we asked some Australians of all makes and models what they thought:
Dr Anita Heiss
Author, Wiradjuri nation
To me, January 26 is a day for both reflection and celebration. As the date marks the beginning of the invasion of Australia and the process of colonisation that followed, it’s important for me as an Australian to stop and reflect on a story that is often forgotten by commentators and every day Aussies amongst the official ceremonies and backyard BBQs across the land, that of Australia’s First Peoples.
But it is also a day when I celebrate the survival of the oldest culture in the world. I always attend the Yabun festival in Sydney, which was first conceived as the Survival Concert back in 1992. This event (duplicated in various forms nationally) showcases the talent that thrives in the Indigenous community today. It is a day when our arts and culture are enjoyed by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and international visitors alike.
Blogger, writer and TV presenter
Australia Day gives me the chance to reflect on the wonderful country I live in. I love the diversity of it all and I wish more Australians appreciated it. The ‘us and them’ attitude in Australia saddens me – we are all equals and we all have the same great opportunities available to us.
I come from a multicultural family – my Mum is from South Africa and Dad is English. They met in South Africa and came to Australia to escape the Apartheid in 1981, before I was born. In South Africa they had to hide their courtship – I say they are the personification of the INXS song Original Sin. It was Australia that gave them a better opportunity at life together.
I remember when I was starting school and Mum encouraged me to ask my Australian ‘aunties’ to teach me the Australian national anthem. My parents are now Australian citizens, and I think they now know the Australian national anthem. They laugh at some of my ocker expressions.
This Australia Day will be spent with my Mum (she’ll be telling me to turn the Hottest 100 down because the music’s too modern for her) and we will be planning our trip to New York in July. I reckon when I arrive in America, and hit the BlogHer conference with the other Aussie bloggers, I’ll be the most patriotic I’ve ever felt. I want to do Australia proud!
Refugee, UNHCR representative
As an Australia citizen, celebrating Australia Day is very important to me because it makes me feel like I am home, especially when I come from a country that had war for over 10 years.