Australia Day

The National Australia Day Council (we have a council for this?) apparently think that we ought to stop everything at midday today and sing the Australian National Anthem.

It’s hard to know where to start, frankly.  The satire practically writes itself.

I mean, I love the idea of asking the nation to pause for a minute of silence and then to sing a song that includes the line ‘for those who’ve come across the seas we’ve boundless plains to share’.  We should absolutely do that.  Actually, I’ve been to quite a few rallies and the like for asylum seekers that have done just that.  I’m a little surprised to see Tony Abbott getting in on the idea, but hey, how can this be a bad thing..?

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Politics: We Are Sorry

My workplace actually broadcast the apology, both in the Lecture Theatre and on the big screen above reception. Unfortunately, due to a slow start this morning, I still managed to miss most of it. I did get to watch the last five minutes of Rudd’s speech, and then the first five minutes of Nelson’s, before I couldn’t stand it any longer and had to leave.

I’m sure all the Australians reading this have seen the text of the Apology far too often today, but I’m posting it anyway. It deserves wide coverage, and it’s nice for my overseas readers to see that the Australian government is actually capable of getting things right occasionally. This has been a long time coming.

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Politics: Indigenous Land in the Northern Territory

Getup just notified me that the Government is trying to pass a Bill to pressure Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory into giving up their land for the next century, in exchange for securing basic services (such as housing and schools). I gather the current land rights act expires this year, and the government does not want to renew it. They are trying to rush this through on Tuesday, and have done a fine job of avoiding consulting anyone, particularly, of course, indigenous populations.

I admit that I know virtually nothing about the issues involved with this, and do not have time this week to research them, so I am not going to try to write anything especially eloquent here. But if you are Australian, I’d appreciate it if you would go here and read more: http://www.getup.org.au/campaign.asp?campaign_id=36

And if you are more knowledgeable than me, please call your senator, or write in your blog and let others know about this. I can’t imagine any way in which this would benefit the Aboriginal community in Australia, which has quite enough problems without losing one of the few assets it has.