Last year, Indigenous journalist Stan Grant delivered a powerful speech about the scourge of racism in Australia.
In the days leading up to the Australia Day (also known to many as “Invasion Day”), it has gone viral and has now been viewed more than 750,000 times across social media and YouTube.
“The Australian dream is rooted in racism,” says Grant.
“It is the very foundation of the dream. It is there at the birth of the nation. It is there in terra nullius.”
Australia is the only country in the world who recognises it’s national day on the day that it was invaded.
January 26 marks the day that the British flag was raised in Sydney Cove and the beginning of more than two centuries of abuse of the county’s first peoples.
“Every time we are lured into the light, we are mugged by the darkness of this country’s history,” says Grant who goes on to cite the shorter life expectancies and higher incarceration rates still experienced by Indigenous Australians.
“My people die young in this country,” he says.
“We die 10 years younger than the average Australian, and we are far from free. We are fewer than 3% of the Australian population and yet we are 25% — a quarter of those Australians locked up in our prisons.
“And if you’re a juvenile it is worse, it is 50%. An Indigenous child is more likely to be locked up in prison than they are to finish high school.”
Grant began the address by pointing to the now infamous booing of Adam Goodes and asking: “What sort of country do we want to be?”
He described as self-evident his assertion that “racism is killing the Australian dream,” adding that “we are better than that”.
“The people who stood up and supported Adam Goodes and said ‘no more’, they are better than that.
“The people who marched across the bridge for reconciliation, they are better than that.
“The people who supported Kevin Rudd when he said ‘sorry’ to the stolen generation, they are better than that.
“My children and their non-Indigenous friends are better than that.
“My wife, who is non-Indigenous wife, is better than that.
“And one day I want to stand here and be able to say as proudly and sing as loudly as anyone in this room ‘Australians all let us rejoice’.”