The debate around celebrating Australia day is fierce. We’ve heard about it on radio stations and seen it plastered across news stands. There have been heated conversations in workplaces, and no doubt it’s been raised at the dinner table.
On the surface, it is the anniversary of January 26, 1788, when the British First Fleet landed at Port Jackson New South Wales and the British flag was raised at Sydney Cove. Deeper than this, however, and it is the anniversary of the beginning of a new colony, and the forced ending of another.
As the years scrolled on from that 1788 landing, White Australians marked the occasion with barbecues and eskies and beach parties fuelled by locally brewed beers. Throughout this, Aboriginal Australians were nowhere to be seen.
Left out of the celebrations the same way they'd been banished from their homes, raped, murdered, stolen from, forced into slavery, and, later, pushed into alcoholism and drug abuse after an entire generation of their children were ripped from their homes.
Is this day really cause for celebration? Will changing the date really make any difference? What are we celebrating, when we say we're 'celebrating' Australia?
All of these are questions that go round and round and round within the politically charged conversation. And perhaps they should.
But today, as you argue about the issue - because no doubt it will be raised - remember the people.