Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Australia Day 2011

Today is a public holiday, Australia Day. It's a day when we Aussies:
  • celebrate being Australian
  • remember the arrival of 11 convict ships, on 26-January-1788,  under the command of Arthur Philip.
  • recognise the achievements of many Australians, at National, State, and local levels. Significant numbers are receive Australia Day Awards. The official Australia Day Awards. There are also Australia Day honours. We often refer to them irreverently as "gongs", as in "She/He got a gong for ..."
  • have a BBQ with mates, or go to a cricket match (involving Australians vs an international team) in a one-day game.
  • we welcome people from overseas who have chosen to become Australian citizens.
But our society is not perfect. Politicians, of both sides, continue to develop politically-expedient policy, rather than good public policy. On occasions they act unethically, even if not unlawfully. Perhaps the most recent example is the suspension (proroguing) of NSW Parliament in December. An election is due in late March, but it is widely viewed as an attempt to hinder or stop a Parliamentary Inquiry into the sale of NSW electricity supply and generation companies. We need to tell our politicians that we require higher standards of behaviour from them. We have groups of people whose purpose is to marginalise, or intimidate other people: there are Asian and Middle-eastern gangs; criminal motorcycle organisations; organised crime (think of the Underbelly series about both Melbourne & Sydney); far right wing, neo-nazi, racist groups. We still have poor & disadvantaged people in our towns and cities, and in remote areas of Australia, whose welfare and health are similarly below the national standards.

Australia Day is a time when we are proud of our achievements, recognise particular individuals, and encourage and show our mateship. I hope we also vow to work for an even better Australia. Goodonya! I'm off to watch the cricket (Australia vs the Pommies. we lead 3-0 in a best of 7-game series)