CONCURRENT with the recent Australia Day recognition, there has been a discussion in the NewsMail pages and the Australian community on two of our significant cultural symbols: the creation of an Australian republic and changing the date of Australia Day.
Opponents to these two debates appear to rely on two arguments: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” and there are more important priorities that have a practical effect on the lives of Australians.
Of course, these deny the significance of how our cultural symbols affect the way we see ourselves and the way the world sees us, which ultimately affects most aspects of our life by dictating our decision-making on matters of importance.
I am very proud that the Queensland Teachers’ Union is a socially progressive union that has a long-standing policy supporting the creation of an Australian republic with an Australian citizen as our head of state.
More recently the QTU has supported a change of date for Australia Day so that it serves as a more inclusive day for celebration by all Australians.
Strong political and community leaders and strong unions do not only reflect community views; they also lead and influence the community in change. Many current well-accepted reforms were once minority, even radical positions, that required leadership and campaigning to achieve.
Australians would do well to take the best learnt values and lessons from the past, using them to continue to evolve and progress to meet the needs of a contemporary Australia. — ALLAN COOK president Bundaberg North QTU