McQuire, Amy: Don’t just change the date of Australia Day … get rid of it all together

Amy McQuire

Don’t just change the date of Australia Day … get rid of it all together‘, Buzzfeed, 19 August 2017

Honest History doesn’t claim this is the only – or a representative – piece on the latest outbreak of the Australia Day debate. (In saying that, we do not mean to disparage either side of the discussion.) On the other hand, Amy McQuire, Darumbal-South Sea islander journalist, makes some good points – and does so with passion.

January 26 marks the arrival of the First Fleet into Sydney Cove in 1788, but symbolises not only the invasion, but the atrocities perpetrated against Aboriginal nations by the colonial project, from the stealing of land and children, to the demeaning of Aboriginal men and women as violent savages, incapable of love and worthy of extermination.

For Aboriginal people, the idea that you would celebrate a date that symbolises attempted genocide is incredibly offensive …

The wealth [of Australia after 1788] was sourced from stolen Aboriginal land, which was cleared by killing Aboriginal people on the frontier. And by dispossession. Aboriginal people were forcibly relocated into missions and onto reserves, where their lives were controlled by the whim of the “protector”.

Opposing view from some Indigenous elders.

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