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The Forum > Article Comments > Australia Day: the least we can do is accept our own history > Comments

Australia Day: the least we can do is accept our own history : Comments

By Andrew Bartlett, published 25/1/2016

The fact Stan Grantís compelling speech has gone viral shows just how deeply this refusal to accept the reality of Australiaís history resonates with so many people.

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If we are going to use Australia Day to remind us of the bad things Exdigenous Australians have done to Indigenous Australians, then it's fair we also talk about the bad things that Indigenous Australians did to themselves: infanticide, internecine warfare between tribes, massacres of early explorers and so on.
Sorry, Andrew, but Australia Day should be an opportunity to be grateful for the present while committing ourselves to a positive future yet never forgetting our past. It should not be a day whose main role is to make Exdigenous Australians feel guilty for past wrongs carried out by previous generations.
Posted by Bernie Masters, Monday, 25 January 2016 11:10:11 AM
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Thanks Bernie. I have no problem with the reality of past practices by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people being talked about. But the core issue is that we can't ensure we don't forget our past if we refuse to acknowledge big chunks of it in the first place.

And I don't see it at all about trying to make people feel guilty - rather the opposite in fact. It is much easier to feel proud about where Australia has got to (for me at least, and I expect also many other non-Indigenous people) if we genuinely understand and accept all of the events/actions that occurred to get us to where we are now.

(plus we need to change the date)
Posted by AndrewBartlett, Monday, 25 January 2016 3:57:24 PM
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Bernie Masters. No one is suggesting indigenous society was any better than it should be, but it certainly was a great deal better for most people than the British/European social structure of privilege and poverty, injustice and disease. Sensible people learn from their mistakes. Australia is the way it is because of the forceful, brutal and violent dispossession of the original occupiers and the subsequent mean-spirited, nasty refusal to then share it with the original occupiers. If there's anything worse than a poor loser, it's a poor winner, and Australians take the cake when it comes to lack of generosity in victory. If you reckon Australian Aborigines should have the same rights as you, then you must honour their bravery and sacrifices in the same way as the invaders have been honoured. Why is it ok for us to have monuments to brave men and women, but not for them? In this excellent opinion piece Andrew was not suggesting we make people feel guilty, but that we should bring the original people into the celebration as equals who have also suffered, fought and desired a good life.
Posted by ybgirp, Monday, 25 January 2016 4:09:29 PM
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Thanks for your reply, Andrew. By using the words "It is much easier to feel proud about where Australia has got to ... if we genuinely understand and accept all of the events/actions that occurred to get us to where we are now.", you are indeed looking to the future and being constructive on how we should view our past. I don't have any problem with this, but I fear that the majority of people who are anti-Australia Day and who want to change its name to Invasion Day do not have your affirmative, mature and sensible way of looking at how we can make progress on the many issues facing both Indigenous and Exdigenous Australians.
Posted by Bernie Masters, Monday, 25 January 2016 4:16:56 PM
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don't you luv how this present generation feel so much morally superior than the pioneers who built this great country. I suspect ex pollies and public servants who benefited so much and now bang on about how bad the whites were have no idea whatsoever. Education has certainly left truth behind especially in our unis. The continual victim status given to our first people by pollies and academics have done far more harm than anyone else. Drugs, child abuse, lack of education, domestic violence has all thoroughly ingrained the poor me victimhood mentality. Very convenient for the aboriginal industry and pollies not to have the guts to address home truths. God forbid the Islam should ever take root here.
Posted by runner, Monday, 25 January 2016 6:37:00 PM
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runner "don't you luv how this present generation feel so much morally superior than the pioneers who built this great country".

Amazing isn't it. A bunch of lefties drunk on their own feelings of moral superiority, trying to turn every Australian into a self-loathing depressive. Meanwhile, our ancestors gave us cars, roads, electricity, rule of law, economic and material prosperity, comfort, security, schools, universities, running water, sewage systems etc.
Posted by Aristocrat, Monday, 25 January 2016 7:58:54 PM
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