Byron Shire Council has changed their celebration of next year’s Australia Day to the 25th of January. The mayor said the council is trying to create a day in which all members of Australia can celebrate the nation. He stated that this is because a section of the Byron Bay community actually mourns on January 26th1. As a consequence, the shire will not be allowed by the vindictive federal government to hold citizenship ceremonies. This decision by Byron Shire Council was the reason the very limited Scott Morrison, tweeted the following:
“Indulgent self-loathing doesn’t make Australia stronger. Being honest about the past does. Our modern Aus nation began on January 26, 1788. That’s the day to reflect on what we’ve accomplished, become, still to achieve. We can do this sensitively, respectfully, proudly, together.”2(Sep. 23)
This is the standard right-wing response to any indication of disaffection with the date of Australia Day: Misinterpreting this disaffection as self-loathing or reverse racism; stating that modern Australia started in 1788 (it didn’t; Sydney just became a penal colony3); we have accomplished a lot, blah, blah, blah. The white blindfold version of Australian history is sickening in its disregard for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander portion of the Australian community. However, this is what you’d expect from a Liberal Party which, under John Howard, was the first recent administration to use the dog whistle for political advantage4. The Coalition haven’t stopped using it since5.
It gets worse. Senator Bridget McKenzie is a senator from Victoria, and is deputy leader of the National Party. She appeared on Sky News Australia talking up how Australia was a most successful multicultural nation, blah, blah, blah. However, she seems to be under the misapprehension that the current Australia Day, January 26th, represents the day that Lieutenant James Cook stepped ashore6. It doesn’t3. It makes you wonder where they get these people. Do they choose idiots or do they turn them into idiots? Is the talent puddle that shallow?