Why Can't We All Honour Both the Indigenous People and the British Settlers of 1788?

Why Can't We All Honour Both the Indigenous People and the British Settlers of 1788?

Australia Day should have nothing whatsoever to do with promoting a republic. It is a part of our history and celebrates the beginning of modern Australia. It also recognises the travails and tribulations that settlement brought as well as the obvious benefits created by the establishment of the rule of law and order and eventual Parliamentary governance under our own constitution. Australia is what the past made us and no one can undo it, not even republicans.

Whilst Australia Day has been celebrated in various forms for over 200 years, the public holiday is of recent origin having been declared so under the republican Keating government in 1994.

Changing the date is meaningless because, whatever day it is held on, the holiday will still commemorate the arrival of the first Fleet and everything that came thereafter. Besides, nothing change the fact that the British arrived in Botany Bay between the 18th and 20th of January, 1788 and then Port Jackson (Sydney) on the 26th and raised the British flag on Australian soil on that day. No one can rewrite that history. If republicans, the Greens and others are so much against what Australia Day means, then they should be talking about scrapping the holiday totally and not just changing the date.

Without the arrival of the British, undoubtedly the French would have claimed and occupied Australia, or a part thereof. British settlement led to the creation of a nation that opened its doors to migrants from around the world. If that settlement had not occurred most of us would not be here today, nor would we be enjoying the benefits of our modern civilisation. Many of those who seek to denigrate Australia and its way of life have been able to flourish under our parliamentary democracy and under the Crown which not only provides the freedom - but also encourages - all people to speak their mind.

Instead of denigrating the early colonialists, we should be applauding them because it is due to their hard work that we are able to enjoy a lifestyle almost unparalleled in the world.


The debate over Australia Day has been polarised between those who accept the facts and those who wish to rewrite our history. Why can’t we all honour both the indigenous people as well as those brave colonialists of 1788? Why can’t we show regret for the bad actions of the past as well as pay tribute for the good?

Australia Day is therefore a day to recognise all Australians, old, not so old and new.

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