Is it possible to not want to celebrate Australia Day?
Like any news hungry journalist, I read my daily news stories before I even get out of bed. It has developed in to a bad habit. Before even saying good morning to my loved ones I am tweeting to the world the stories I think should dictate the day’s discussions.
On Australia Day the first article I tweeted was about the health gap in our indigenous communities.
Now I’m not indigenous and would not even want to come close to saying I can relate to how they would feel about Australia Day. Especially when Sunday was a day I was reminded how my migrant white privilege has seen me live a moderate middle class life with fairly much less grief than others in my community.
In fact so privileged is my life I spent Australia Day in my parent’s beach house down the beautiful and moderately wealthy south coast of South Australia.
I have little to complain about.
Yet on Sunday when I should be thankful for the choice my father and my mother’s family made to come here from Italy I should be proud to be Australian. If they did not I may not even be here, I’d be living with far less in a peasant town in the south of Italy.
But I couldn’t.
I couldn’t because today I live in a country that treats those wanting a better life for their families with contempt and would rather see them locked up than embraced by our community.
I couldn’t because whenever I see our flag I think of all those who will drape themselves in it and sprout xenophobic hate.
I couldn’t because I acknowledge that in the founding of this country we have sacrificed our indigenous community.
I couldn’t because no matter how much they strive to embrace our multicultural community we are never part of the white Australia.
I couldn’t because to really benefit from the wealth of this country, you must be wealthy. If live below the poverty line or in circumstances outside the nuclear family you will be seen as a burden on this society.
I couldn’t because as a woman the statistics of violence and gender inequality remain against me.
I couldn’t because no matter how much I try to teach my son that we must treat those in this world equal, we vote for governments who remind us we are not.
So maybe I am unAustralian but this Australia Day I really did feel there was little to celebrate.