We are pleased to report that quality resistance and rebuttal is at last rising to counter the modern historical revisionism that seeks to distort, discount and de-legitimise Australia Day’s significance, and to change its date away from 26 January when Captain Arthur Phillip’s First Fleet started to disembark at Sydney Cove in 1788.
Here are four recent examples that deserve applause:
Jacinta Price is an Alice Springs Councillor and a straight-talking young woman who proudly acknowledges her mixed ancestry (half Aboriginal / half European) and the importance of ‘celebrating a country we love’. Since speaking out on Australia Day last year, she has been an energetic advocate for retaining 26 January as the date. Her statements this week include a widely reported debate and this radio conversation.
Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has weighed in usefully this week with a stout defence in favour of the current date for Australia Day. We note that he is also (again!) recommending a ‘scaling back [of] immigration … to keep wages up and housing prices down.’
Nick Cater‘s opinion piece ‘Australian success story offers no scope for contrition or cringe’ (The Australian, 23 January 2018) is also worthy of note.
In ‘Australia Day doubters misread our past’ (The Australian, 26 January 2018), eminent historian Geoffrey Blainey observes that:
Critics [who] deride January 26 as Invasion Day … read their history backwards. Captain Arthur Phillip had no intention of launching an invasion that would eventually cover and conquer even a fraction of Australia.
The loudest attacks on Australia Day come from those who are really attacking the legitimacy of their nation.
Most indigenous people are better off than if they had remained, generation after generation, in their old way of life. Most newcomers to Australia — and their children — are better off than if they had stayed at home. Australia Day in its low-key way recognises these truths.
We congratulate all who are helping to repair the damage done by the historical amnesia that has been fostered by schools and academia since the 1970s.
The Australia Day controversy is an emblematic example. Something else that needs repair is the effect on Australia of high mass immigration from non-traditional source countries and regions (e.g. the Middle East, Asia and Africa) rather than the British Isles and Europe.
Unfortunately, the hazard warnings issued about immigration from the 1980s were studiously ignored by policy makers and governments. Professor Blainey, Dr Katherine Betts, Dr Bob Birrell, Australians Against Further Immigration and Graeme Campbell all drew attention to the new origins and changed demographics, and to the ways in which mass immigration precipitates the decline of social cohesion and national memory. (See our Bookshelf for some key texts.) If heeded back then, some of today’s obviously unwelcome trends could have been more easily avoided.
Among the inevitable consequences of mass immigration is the erosion and loss of our common, shared national memory, as noted recently by Henry Ergas:
…works that go to the origins and nature of the ‘Australian Settlement’ are less likely to be used as points of reference in the public debate, with that being all the more the case as immigration ensures so large a share of the population has little connection to, and knowledge of, the Australian past.
Ergas quotes John Hirst (‘Empire, state, nation’, 2008, p. 142) who wrote: ‘among the Australian people only faint memories now remain of the origins of their polity’. Ergas then adds:
It also seems reasonable to suppose those memories have become increasingly faint as the polity’s origins recede in time and as Australia has become more and more a society of migrants who have little connection to, or knowledge of, the structural roots of the society in which they live.
Ergas also shares Hancock’s insight (expressed in Australia, 1930, p. 270), that:
…any country which, because of an ‘instinctive distaste for the past’ seeks to always live in the present is inevitably ‘threatened with submergence by the more stupid ideas, credulities and quarrels of the day before yesterday’
Source: Henry Ergas, ‘Tocqueville, Hancock, and the Sense of History’,
in W.O. Coleman (ed), Only in Australia: The History, Politics,
and Economics of Australian Exceptionalism,
Oxford, 2016, pages 82, 100 and 102.
On Australia Day, let’s reflect on the REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on’s laconic Aussie efficiency.
Our simple, two-word message is capable of initiating the process of unpicking, unravelling, unglueing, or cutting straight through this amnesia. The now-decades-old, bipartisan, Gordian Knot of undemocratically ‘manufactured consent’ still artificially protects immigration policy from being corrected. This can be changed, literally, by the written hand of the masses on their ballot papers.
Is it any wonder that all the vested high immigration interests shudder at the thought of the REDUCE IMMIGRATION write-on becoming common knowledge? It’s aimed fairly and squarely at stabilising our rapid and damaging, unsustainable, force-fed, high immigration induced, high population growth rate.
Please share these ideas with your family and friends as you enjoy this Australia Day!
And, for further reading, our previous years’ Australia Day postings on this site remain relevant and are tagged for easy review and consideration.