FLYING FREE: Dr Kerry Blackman is calling for the date of Australia Day to be changed.
FLYING FREE: Dr Kerry Blackman is calling for the date of Australia Day to be changed. Mike Knott BUN010416FLAG3

OPINION: Invasion or Australia Day?



THIS article is to help those confused and divided opinions from both the Aboriginal community and the mainstream community.

Let's call January 26 an oxymoron of Invasion Day/Australia Day to give a solution to bridge the cultural divide between the invasion and massacres of the first nation people in 1788 and the ongoing passionate desire of the second Australians and new Australians to celebrate.

Some will mourn and others will rejoice the combined day.

Instead of people debating the issue of Invasion Day/Australia Day they need to be talking more about "closing the gap" and their ideas on how to resolve the failed policy.

A recent poll found 56 per cent of Australians did not care when Australia Day was celebrated but I guess some bigoted politicians are only interested in the election polls to keep them or their political party in power.

Malcolm Turnbull is the most confused leader I have witnessed in my lifetime.

He doesn't know if he is republican or monarchist, Labor or Liberal, millionaire or Prime Minister or all the above.

I would argue strongly the Prime Minister works for 97 per cent of mainstream Australians and not 3 per cent of the First Nation Australians.

He states he represents all Australians, but seems to have no respect, recognition or regard for the opinion, dreams and aspirations of my people or 56 per cent registered in the above poll.

He has the power to change the date and the political goodwill to resolve issues of reconciliation identified in the final report of the 10-year bipartisan Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation called Australia's Challenge.

Past history has to be exposed as it has been swept under the carpet for too long.

The royal plush carpet of the British Monarchy has a name, it is called Australia's Shame.

The head of the British Empire the Queen of England has the power to cleanse her hands of the innocent blood of our people.

She can direct the Prime Minister and his Australian Government to deliver justice and enter into a treaty with the last remaining Commonwealth country.

To date she has not helped cleanse the stain of innocent blood that still cries out of every grain of sand, dirt and rock in this sunburnt country.

In relation to the Invasion Day/Australia Day debate we now have Senator Nigel Scullion as the Minister for Indigenous affairs with his head buried in the sand.

His ignorance has polarised the 1901 mindset which birthed this country through a whites only Constitution.

Surely he reads all the electronic media and political opinion calling for Invasion Day/Australia Day to be changed so we First Nation Australians can join the second Australians and the new Australians in celebrating this beautiful nation. Mr Scullion claims no Aboriginal leader or person has spoken to him about changing the date.

That's despite professor Chris Sarra, one of the Prime Minister's key advisors, saying Aboriginal people wanted the date changed.

Professor Sarra said the date was dividing Australians and excluding indigenous people.

"Regrettably I don't think Australia Day, and what it represents, is a day that most people in the Aboriginal community want to celebrate," Professor Sarra said.

"I say that mindful that you get one or two Aborigines who say what people want to hear, but that's not a true and accurate reflection of what most of the Aboriginal community thinks.

"Don't compel us to have to stand by and have to celebrate that with you.

"We could pretend that Australia Day is something that unites us when clearly it's something that divides us."

Professor Sarra said it was time to "calmly" reconsider whether January 26 was an inclusive date.

Mr Scullion apparently wants the Aboriginal leadership to request an invitation to bow down and sit at his feet and say "oh great king are you aware that Australia was invaded in 1788 by the British Empire without consent and murdered and stole everything the First Nation people ever had?"

Since the 1967 referendum our people have wanted our rights back in way of a treaty with full compensation.

We want the date of Australia Day changed.

The celebration is like dancing all over the spilt blood of our ancestors and graves across the length and breadth of this country.

If Mr Scullion is unaware of how his blackfella constituents feel about Invasion Day/Australia Day then he probably needs to consider returning to being a professional fisherman in the top end.

Calling January 26 Invasion Day/Australia Day could be considered and viewed as a compromise for all sides.

It could even be considered a win/win and a way forward in the short term until a brand new day is agreed and settled as part of true reconciliation.

New Zealand is considered part of Australasia and as a small colonised nation the population is more politically sophisticated than Australia.

They hold Treaty of Waitangi Day, their combined National Day of celebration on February 6 every year.

All New Zealanders including its original inhabitants, the Maoris, celebrate Treaty of Waitangi Day.

I have had the privilege of attending and celebrating at Waitangi with their Prime Minister, politicians and Maori leaders with a breakfast to commence and acknowledge Waitangi Day.

Until Australia and its political leaders grow up and show some maturity to change January 26 to a different date and call it something like, Treaty Australia Day, I will call on Aboriginal people and the 56 per cent of the Australians who want the day changed to wear our black T-shirts with our signature T.

The T is a symbol of mourning for Invasion Day/Australia Day.

Treaty Australia will agitate until the date is changed. Changing the date is not going to cause the sky to fall in or the world to end. What it will do is stop the racism, bigotry, ignorance and hurt shown to First Nation Australians. It will also allow us to celebrate as one.

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