Still, Australia Day didn’t mean much to most of us. The 1980s was when it changed. The Fraser government oversaw the creation of a single Australian of the Year award. And the 1988 Bicentennial, marking 200 years since the start of British colonisation, finally sold Australians on what its marketing people called “the celebration of a nation”. By the mid-1990s, we locked into having the holiday on January 26 — unless it falls on a weekend, as it does this year, which means we’re going to have a nostalgia-inducing long weekend for once. Australia Day is now a festival of flags, barbecues, boozeups, fireworks, speeches, awards and citizenship ceremonies. And predictably enough, politics. How could politics not be part of it?
After all, we’re celebrating two related events: the beginnings of