Why I’m (still) not proud to be an Australian on Australia Day

By | 2014/01/26

Australia Day is meant to be a time where we celebrate our status of a nation, but try as I might I can’t bring any pride to the table. I love Australia, but that doesn’t mean I have to feel proudly patriotic when it’s so undeserving of it.

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The plight of the Australian Indigenous population – education, health, autonomy, amongst a myriad of other issues and long-standing issues is horrifying. Too many people argue that since the issues started under a previous generation, under a previous government, it’s not something they have to apologise for. And while that attitude prevails, the schism that founded this country won’t be healed.

The entire asylum seeker shows Australia to be only a superficially caring country. Sure, if a tsunami hits countries in the region or a bushfire takes out a chunk of a state, Australians give generously, and the Australian government pitches in. But if 20-30 people fleeing a terrible situation arrive in a boat? All hell breaks loose. Australia has become an uncaring, ungenerous nation, blind to the needs of others under the banner of thinly disguised racism. “Operation Sovereign Borders” is the term under the latest uncaring government – intent to prove itself even better at abusing those in dire situations than the previous government. It sounds likely a lovely, patriotic slogan, but instead it’s a mean spirited exercise in political point scoring and sheepish adherence to racism rather than any attempt to lead a nation.

I’m still a second class citizen, of course. Australia is meant to be all about equality, but there’s all sorts of minorities that get a ‘lesser’ equality. Being gay is certainly lumps you into the second-class citizen bucket.

I can love Australia for so much, but I won’t turn a blind eye to the things that leave me feeling sick to my stomach to be an Australian.