Celebrations. Festivity. Vacation. These are a few of the many words associated with Australia’s national holiday. Australia day. But this list of positive synonyms are not used by all Australian’s to describe this celebratory time. I’m Audrey Virgen and am here to explain ALL Australian’s opinions on the national holiday, Australia day.
For many Australians, it is a time to celebrate Australia day, a day dedicated to the colonisation of Australia on the 26th of January 1788, by Captain James Cook. Many choose to spend this holiday with friends and family, showing their true Australian spirit and pride on this special day.
A broad group of Australians, however, do not in anyways possible agree with Australia’s national holiday’s date and are, in fact, fighting for change. While the 26th of January goes down in history as the day Australia was colonised, it was also the beginning of many harrowing years to come for all indigenous people all over the country. Despite the best intentions of the English to promote assimilation into a culture they considered superior, the outcome unfortunately resulted in traumatization of the indigenous population and suppression of their culture.
In polls conducted by the ‘The Australian Institute’, it shows that although a majority of Australians, (84%), feel very strongly about Australia having a national holiday, more than 50% don’t actually mind when the date is held, defying the impression that Australians perceive January 26th as being sacrosanct and untouchable.
Even some local celebrities have weighed in on the controversy of the topic, using their social media platforms spread awareness of the topic. Celebrities such as former Home and away actress Bonnie Sveen wrote a fervent plea in a recent Instagram caption (posted on the most recent Australia day), stating quotes such as ‘Today belongs to Original Owners’ and ‘the history of our Invasion is not something to ‘get over’ and ‘move on from’. Sveen used many apologetic words in her plea, mentioning how she understand her ancestors (the Europeans) tore apart families and such. Other stars who contributed to the topic include Caitlyn Stasey, Osher Günsberg, Pia Miller, and many more.This controversy has been progressing long enough. It is time for Australia to change. And for the better too. There is no way an apology can suffice for all the years of trouble the indigenous people went through, but at the very least, Australians can have a change of heart and stop celebrating a day that is so very hurtful for a select group of people. If you are willing to be part of the movement into changing Australia for the better, there are many petitions to choose from if you choose to sign. A large contributor that is holding a petition of their own is by one of Australia’s beloved radio stations “Triple J” and this petition can be found on their website.