Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Australia Day!!

This post will not really be written by me. I have spent the past few minutes looking through Facebook at what my various friends have to say about being Australian and Australia Day. Australia Day appears to mean very different things to each person but the one thing they all have in common was the pride they all take in this country. It truly is a beautiful and astounding place to live and after the recent floods it seems more of us are taking our Aussie status very seriously.

Here are some of my favourites;

'I'm so proud to be an australian thanks mum&dad for making that huge sacrifice 38yrs ago by leaving your whole family in the UK for a better life down under!!!'

'Everything ready now- lamb marinated in homegrown herbs, drinks and salad, Australian themed beach ball, hat, towel, umbrella, boardies, stubby cooler, infatable thong, eski, hats... even Ozzy nails!!! Have I forgotten anything????'

'Proud to be an Aussie, proud to be a Queenslander, especially after the amazing work put in down south during the floods! That's the spirit!!'

'Probably going to movies and for lunch somewhere and maybe Sugarworld Gardens. It's just nice to have a day to spend with the family doing something and the weather is glorious at the moment.'

'Australian girls have fire and ice in our blood. We can handle floods and droughts, handle the cold, beat the heat, be a princess, throw a right hook and drink with the boys! We are born tough, We can cook a wicked good meal and if we have an opinion...You can bet your ass you're gonna hear it!'

'Happy Australia day to all, we are a great nation.'

'Happy Survival Day All! Acknowledge our past and look to the future :)'

'Happy Australia Day! A day to celebrate our history, our traditional owners of our land (thank you for letting us live here) and our multi cultural community! We are a strong nation, full of people with courage, love and compassion. What a day :)'

There were many who simply said 'Happy Australia Day!!"

I love being Australian but having only ever been Australian I am unsure if I would have the same pride in the country of my birth if it was any other place on earth. I have a feeling that we Australians are particularly proud of our achievements and rightly so. We excel in many areas but more than that, we have a can do attitude that allows us to believe that anything is possible. The optimist is alive and well here in this country and as a self confessed leader of the optimism party it's great to know that I am far from alone in my perspective.

As a country we are young, yet we are one of the oldest in the world. Depends which way you look at it. Either way you choose to view things the fact is we have come a long way and sometimes it pays to acknowledge that. We are far from perfect and there is still much further we need to travel before we can stop and rest. Luckily we have a wealth of opportunity and knowledge in this country and we know how to utilise it. Our leaders are not perfect and will always disappoint us but those members of the community who work tirelessly for all of us are the ones we should be celebrating as our hero's. These people have chosen to follow a difficult path and will not be swayed or moved until the job is done. Australia would not be going anywhere if it wasn't for their actions.

I confess to being a little disappointed with Australia Day being referred to as Survival Day. Not because I don't believe we should acknowledge our past. More because I choose to believe that our indigenous population did much more than simply survive. The culture, languages and the spirit that allowed them to survive have also been kept. White culture is not so strong in that regard. Our Aboriginal communities have not fared well in the past and the gap is still wide. There is a certain comfort to be had in the absolute courage and conviction of those who are looking for ways to bridge that gap and are ensuring it doesn't widen. Australia Day is the perfect opportunity for us to demand that our leaders work even harder to ensure that all Australians have the same opportunities and quality of life, in every part of our country.

This is what one of my friends had to say today about her views on the issue. Once again, it's all in the attitude!

'Hopefully we've learnt over the years that negativity breeds negativity and us as Indigenous Australians can look to more positive ways of moving forward while still acknowledging our past. We need to lose that "hard done by" mentality and GET UP off our arses and do something about it! Today is the day to have good long think about our survival of our culture and what we are doing for the next generation.'

Curtis Pitt posted a press release this morning about his views on Australia. It's a great read and it's how I will end my post. Happy Australia Day everyone. Whether you are headed out for a bbq, a lunch, a family fun day or staying at home watching some great Aussie sport remember to be grateful for all we have today and thankful that we have so many Australian's in our midst who are working hard to make it even better!


Australia Day is our national day – an occasion to honour our achievements and successes, an official holiday to remind us what it means to be Australian and to celebrate the reasons we love living in this country. But each year, January 26 means different things to different people.

Australians come from a range of cultural backgrounds. The history of this land started long before the arrival of European settlement, so for our first Australians it marked that day in 1788 that forever changed Indigenous culture, customs and way of life.

Today is a day when we should remember that it is our differences that actually unite us. It is our respect for each other and tolerance of our differences that makes our country stand out from the rest.

Today is a day that will see towns and cities across the country unite their diverse communities and promote cultural and religious harmony. We acknowledge the role that migrants from throughout the globe have played in recent years to make our society so much richer. It is for these reasons that it’s a day that many will choose to become Australian citizens at naturalisation ceremonies around the nation.

Today is also an opportunity to publicly acknowledge our best. Here in the Far North, we’re well known for our sense of community and for a willingness to freely give of our time to help others. Through Australia Day awards, it’s a chance to express our thanks and gratitude to those who contribute an enormous amount of time and effort to make our community a better place – everyday people who contribute in all areas of community and civic life. Congratulations to all Australia Day award winners.

The start of 2011 has seen thousands of people adversely affected by extreme weather events which have caused a great deal of sorrow and hardship – not only in south east Queensland but also in other parts of the State. I couldn’t think of a better example of why I’m proud to be Australian, and more importantly a Queenslander.

In some of our State’s darkest hours, trained professionals have worked alongside volunteers to help out fellow Queenslanders, saving lives in flood-ravaged cities and towns. In the cleanup, total strangers have lobbed onto people’s doorsteps and offered assistance. Through it all, they’ve responded to the most difficult of situations with good humour.

As they begin the massive task of reconstruction, I think back to the response following Cyclone Larry. The scale of the disaster in SEQ may be larger but the principles behind the recovery must be the same. In the midst of the devastation and chaos, Premier Anna Bligh said with some emotion but much conviction:

“As we weep for what we have lost, and as we grieve for family and friends and we confront the challenge that is before us, I want us to remember who we are. We are Queenslanders. We’re the people that they breed tough, north of the border. We’re the ones that they knock down, and we get up again.”

Nope, it’s not football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holden cars that makes an Aussie. It’s that thing that you can’t see. It’s an attitude – a belief – that we can achieve anything if we work together.

Happy Australia Day to all – and no matter what Australia Day means to you, I hope you enjoy it with family and friends.

1 comment:

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