For 364 days of the year, I am proud to call Australia my home, but Australia Day is not one of those days. I mourn on Australia Day. For Indigenous Australians and for the traumatising Australia Day memories of my childhood.
Growing up in the burbs of West “Straya”, I wasn’t immune to the casual racism my family and many other ethnic minorities/migrants experienced. Growing up in a post-9/11 era, as a first generation Australian Sikh, has been a challenge. The Sikh and Muslim communities became targets of racial abuse, discrimination and hate crimes. “Look it’s Osama Bin Laden!” and “Go home you terrorist!” were just some of these racial slurs.
Australia Day, for me, brings out the bigots of society who might be insecure in their own identity so they hop onto the “Aussieness Express” to prove how people like me don’t belong on “their” land.
Contemporary Australians have diverse views on this celebrated public holiday, so we decided to hit the streets of Melbourne to find out what they think. We asked three questions:
What does Australia Day mean to you?
What do you do to celebrate it?
What makes you Australian?
I urge you to think about what makes you Australian.
Is it a Southern Cross tattoo or wombat stew crumbled with a Dunkaroo?
An accent? A birth certificate? A sense on belonging? Your friends and family ties?
Check out what these Melbournians have got to say.