In 1996, 25,000 people converged on Parliament House in Canberra to protest the Howard Government’s proposed changes to workplace relations laws. Somewhere along the line, the protest became violent, windows were smashed and 90 people were injured. It was a disgusting attack on our elected officials and I lost complete respect for white people after that.
I ignited an ugly twitter backlash as I watched the news last night. I simply tweeted that I am proud of the Tent Embassy and I think it’s up to the first Australians to say when they don’t need it anymore. A lot of people unloaded on me because they read into my comment support for the violent riot that engulfed Prime Minister Gillard and Tony Abbott. One lady, with whom I’d established a great relationship during the Queensland floods last year, was aghast. “You condone the violence too I suppose? Well I’ve lost all respect for them. And you.”
I do not condone violence of any kind, against anybody, but I will not withdraw my respect for the Aboriginal community at large because of the actions of a few. Just as I would consider someone who judged white Australians by the violence of the Melbourne gang wars an ignorant idiot! Wouldn’t you?
Australia Day, celebrated on the anniversary of the landing of the first European settlers on the island that was already home to a civilisation, is incendiary. It is the anniversary of an invasion, whether you like it or not. The time frame in which that civilisation should “get over it” belongs to no one but them I’m afraid, no matter how frustrating it is to the those who want it all forgotten and left in the past. I’d love to know when America should “get over” 9/11 and just “get on with the future”. Or how much longer the Jewish people have to dwell on the Holocaust before it gets old.