"We should change the date of Australia Day, as it doesn't truly celebrate all Australians"
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"We should change the date of Australia Day, as it doesn't truly celebrate all Australians".
January 26th, or Australia Day is an anniversary of the day that the arrival of the First Fleet of 11 convict ships from Great Britain, and the raising of the Union Jack at Sydney Cove by its commander Captain Arthur Phillip, in 1788. Although, this is not what we celebrate Australia Day for today. As a united country, we no longer see Australia Day as something simply just to commemorate the arrival of the First Fleet, rather to celebrate the country we are, and who we represent today.
Although the 26th of January marks this specific event, we have grown and developed as a country to no longer honour this day in regard to the First Fleet, but to recognise the importance of this day to Indigenous Australians, and to reconcile and come together as a community to celebrate and take pride in our country's ability to move forward, and grow for the better.
January 26th has become a day to reflect on our country's past, and how we have, and will continue to work together to build a better future.
Australia day is celebrated annually on the 26th of January to mark the first fleet arriving at Australia and beginning its development to create the Australia we live in today. However I strongly believe that we should change the date of Australia day because it doesn't truly celebrate all Australians as it neglects the reality of what the Aboriginals experienced when the Europeans arrived and took over Australia. To begin with, Australia day marks the settlement and arrival of supposedly the first people to have founded Australia, however this is inaccurate because Australia was already inhabited by its native people who were the Aborigines. The Aboriginal people that arrived approximately 50,000 years ago after travelling through Asia and discovering the land. (Trishans Oz n.d., Aborigines - The First Australians, N.a., accessed 17 May 2016, <http://panique.com.au......;) It was the Aboriginal people who were the true discoverers of our nation and yet there is no commemoration or recognition of them being the first settlers of Australia today. Aboriginals were also not given equal rights as the white settlers and even though it"s illegal to kill Aborigines, they were victims of many massacres. The Aborigines were denied effective legal action and so the massacres they experienced from the Europeans, resulted in no action being taken because the Aborigines could not provide evidence in court/give their word as they could not swear by the Bible (different beliefs) and so they could not be trialed or give evidence, and massacres were often denied because people did not trust the Aboriginals and many supported their own which were the white settlers. (Carrodus, G., Delany, T. and Howitt, B. (2012) Oxford big ideas history 9 Australian curriculum student book + Obk/as MULTI. Australia: OUP Australia and New Zealand)
Today, some Aboriginals struggle with equality because of the colour of their skin as white Aboriginals are more accepted in society, whereas Aboriginals with black skin still struggle to be treated the same as white people. (Aboriginal Rights n.d., N.a., accessed 19 May 2016, <http://www.convictcreations.com......;) In many places in Australia such as Darwin, Aborigines live in great poverty and live through an immense amount of struggle and lack of support as many don"t receive or aren"t provided with the education many Australian"s receive today because their society is underprivileged and can"t afford to send many of their children or members to schools or education facilities. Australia day doesn't recognise Aboriginals as the first inhabitants of this land, and divides us as people who are Indigenous and non-Indigenous because it is a day when people celebrate the white settlers discovering Australia, but when the Aborigines are neglected and they still struggle today with poverty so they aren't provided with the resources many Australian"s receive today.
The arrival of the white settlement was the cause for thousands of aboriginal deaths. The lack of food but also the introduction of foreign food either starved or poisoned the aborigines. White settlement also introduced many diseases that had a dramatic and devastating effect on the Aboriginal inhabitants as they had no resistance to them and it killed majority of the population. Diseases such as the common cold, measles, influenza or other sexually transmitted diseases (sometimes by rape) killed thousand of Aboriginals. 50% of the Aboriginal population of Australia is believed to have been wiped out due to smallpox, introduced by the white settlers. (Carrodus, G., Delany, T. and Howitt, B. (2012) Oxford big ideas history 9 Australian curriculum student book + Obk/as MULTI. Australia: OUP Australia and New Zealand) The arrival of the first fleet symbolises the invasion of the White people and how they corrupted the lives of thousands of innocent Aborigines and were the cause of thousands of their deaths wiping out majority of the population. This has also affected the world today because these vast killings of the Aboriginal inhabitants during the times of white settlements is the reason why there are little remaining full-blooded/pure aborigines today. Some Aboriginals today limit themselves to opportunities and create restrictions for themselves because they live in fear of Australians and what we may do to them, but also the government still doesn"t focus on the needs and problems of Aboriginals and so their struggle and fear worsens each day.
Finally, many aboriginals today identify the 26th of January not as a day to celebrate, but a day to mourn as it marks the destruction and symbolised the beginning of great loss and suffering experienced by the Aboriginal inhabitants of the land. On the 16th of January, may Aboriginals don"t celebrate the beginning of life but mourn the loss of so many lives and experience great suffering and loss. The native Aboriginal inhabitants of Australia during the settlement of the white destroyed the peace between within Australia and lead to massacres of attacks on the Aboriginals. Australia day divides us as it commemorates how unjustly and tragically treated the aboriginal inhabitants of Australia were as the white settlement caused great suffering and sorrow among their people. The arrival of the first fleet symbolised the beginning of great suffering for the aboriginals as their presence caused many violent attacks and massacres and that day marked aborigines as targets. The white settlers abused many aboriginal inhabitants, many of them were degraded and forced into labour where they were exploited and used by the white settlers for their own benefits as a labour force and the aborigines were poorly paid and abused by the Europeans. During the gold rushes, European gold miners abused the Aboriginal guides, and Aboriginal women were victims of sexual harassment (rape) in the gold areas.(Carrodus, G., Delany, T. and Howitt, B. (2012) Oxford big ideas history 9 Australian curriculum student book + Obk/as MULTI. Australia: OUP Australia and New Zealand) The aboriginal inhabitants of Australia were victimised and subjected to horrible and unfair conditions and lifestyles.
We are not a country that discriminates and have moved on from our past. What happened over 228 years ago does not and should not reflect or represent that people we are as Australians, therefore, to say that we are not an equal country is not true or fair to Australians that eknowledge the wrongdoing of the British in the First Fleet, and have apologised for this, as we have as a nation. We are an equal country. Australia Day is much more than what most of us celebrate it for. It is more than another public holiday. It is more than the pride and excitement of new citizens who call themselves Australian for the first time on 26 January after being conferred citizenship.
At its core, Australia Day is a day driven by communities, and the celebrations held in each town, suburb or city " unified by the celebration of what"s great about Australia and being Australian " are the foundation of its ongoing success.
Then there was the period of the "Stolen Generation" when Australian Aboriginal children were snatched/taken from their families and raised in institutions or fostered by white families but in the early days of European settlement, these children were used as guides, servants and farm labour and until 1969, removing children from their families was official government policy is some states. (Carrodus, G., Delany, T. and Howitt, B. (2012) Oxford big ideas history 9 Australian curriculum student book + Obk/as MULTI. Australia: OUP Australia and New Zealand) Many Aboriginals today are scared to leave or move out from their societies because some still believe that their children will be taken from them, or that Australians still pose a danger to them and may harm them. These acts show how the events from the first fleet have damaged and the trust between Aborigines and Australians and has divded us, instead of uniting us together. Australia day for Aboriginals is a day of mourning for the thousands of lives lost and families destroyed/torn apart by the white settlers, and it is in remembrance of all of the children taken away from their families, and each year these terrible tragedies and effects of the white settlement are forgotten or unknown by thousands of Australians. Each year Australians celebrate ANZAC Day to commemorate the lives that are lost to war in service of our country, yet there is no day that allows us to recognise the deaths of the Aborigines were killed or the children that we stole that we all celebrate in respect for the Aboriginals. Why do we mourn our own, but not the lives of those that we killed? We are blinded to the truth of the effects of that day, and in the words of Martin Flanagan "...January 26, the date of white arrival in this country, [is] an event which began a chain of disastrous consequences for the indigenous population of our land."
To conclude, Australia day should be changed from the 26th of January to another date because it is unfair and bias as it commemorates the supposed revelation of this country when the first fleet arrived and discovered this land in 1788, however each year on this day the Aboriginal descents are neglected and as is the reality of that day and the devastating impact it had on the Aboriginal inhabitants is forgotten. Australia day reflects the suffering, pain, loss, cruelty, injustice of the Aboriginal inhabitants, and so it fails to celebrate all Australians each year on this day and the scars from the past are still embedded in many Aboriginals today which has created division between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians as there are no trust and belief problems between us, caused by the terrible way the white settlers treated the aboriginal inhabitants when arriving in 1788. Australia day should be changed in respect to our indigenous inhabitants whose ancestors suffered greatly as a result of our arrival.
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