Con­sider new flag and new date

Mercury (Hobart) - - YOUR VOICE -

WITH an elec­tion sched­uled for early next year it would be good if the Aus­tralian pub­lic could get a com­mit­ment from po­lit­i­cal par­ties to re­view Aus­tralia Day. My wish is we make a day to cel­e­brate. At the mo­ment we are ac­knowl­edg­ing the raising of the flag of our colo­nial set­tle­ment. Let us raise a modern Aus­tralian flag on a modern Aus­tralia Day. Our flag has be­come outdated. The Union Jack is now too dom­i­nant. The flag has been mod­i­fied a num­ber of times. Some­times the back­ground was red. Prime Min­is­ter Robert Men­zies changed it to blue in 1954 and our armed forces and peace­keep­ers have served un­der this de­sign since that date. Aus­tralia is a na­tion of diver­sity, not only cul­tur­ally but in re­li­gion, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion, skin colour, food, wine, care and hair­style. There are im­por­tant is­sues that need so­lu­tions: Recog­nis­ing the Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity in a treaty or in the Con­sti­tu­tion; Four or four-and-a-half year fixed terms; dual cit­i­zen­ship MPs in fed­eral par­lia­ment. A modern flag raised on the first Fri­day of Fe­bru­ary 2020, modern Aus­tralia Day, with a range of leg­is­la­tion af­fect­ing its cit­i­zens be­com­ing law on the same day would ad­vance Aus­tralia fair. Oi! Peter Jago Delo­raine

Con­flicts and protests

PRIME Min­is­ter Mor­ri­son boasts about the things he is do­ing to unite this na­tion. He must be jok­ing. It amazes me the clowns in Can­berra can­not see that for Aus­tralia Day Jan­uary 26 is not the right day. Ev­ery year there are con­flicts and protests against the day that they claim is to bring the coun­try to­gether. The Prime Min­is­ter has vir­tu­ally said that the orig­i­nal in­hab­i­tants are not con­sid­ered Aus­tralian so we will give them their own spe­cial day. Why not a Greece, Ital­ian or Pol­ish day. It doesn’t unite the coun­try it drives it apart. My an­ces­tors were from Eng­land and Scot­land but I am Aus­tralian and I do not con­sider I owe al­le­giance to those coun­tries but owe to­tal al­le­giance to this won­der­ful coun­try. Jan­uary 26 rep­re­sents the es­tab­lish­ment by the now ex­pired Bri­tish Em­pire of a pe­nal colony in a for­eign coun­try they in­vaded, claim­ing it was un­in­hab­ited. We are no longer part of the Bri­tish Em­pire and ceased to be Bri­tish sub­jects in 1987. Surely with 364 other days to choose from a day can be pro­claimed which would be ac­cept­able to all. We may even be­come an ex­am­ple to the rest of the world as peo­ple joined to­gether de­spite re­li­gion and eth­nic dif­fer­ences. F.A. West­cott Lu­tana

Over­due re­spect

FREE speech and bi­par­ti­san­ship in Tas­ma­nia is ques­tion­able. The power of the me­dia is not. The Abo­rig­i­nal com­mu­nity of Tas­ma­nia coura­geously and tena­ciously presses on with its de­ter­mi­na­tion for jus­tice and recog­ni­tion as per Michael Mansell’s com­ments (Let­ters, Oc­to­ber 10), while the pow­ers in pol­i­tics do their ut­most to hin­der Tas­ma­nian Abo­rig­i­nal progress. Our politi­cians seem hell­bent on ac­com­mo­dat­ing for­eign in­vest­ment and any­thing that en­cour­ages the tourist dollars while ig­nor­ing the re­quests and pleas of our in­dige­nous peo­ple. The Abo­rig­i­nal his­tory must be ac­knowl­edged and their needs met. The in­va­sion of their lands on Jan­uary 26, 1788, needs to be recog­nised. With­out the is­sues of the past be­ing dealt with in a ma­ture and com­pas­sion­ate man­ner, the greater ma­jor­ity of Tas­ma­ni­ans will con­tinue to live in ig­no­rant bliss as to the bru­tal truth of coloni­sa­tion and the sin­gle-minded de­ter­mi­na­tion to elim­i­nate the orig­i­nal cus­to­di­ans of Tas­ma­nia. Aus­tralia Day must be changed. And Tas­ma­nia’s Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple need to be given the re­spect and hon­our they de­serve, which is long over­due! Sue Car­lyon Kingston

Unites us all

ELEC­TORS need to know ex­actly what would-be coun­cil­lors stand for and we need to know be­fore the elec­tions are held. Many coun­cil­lors wait un­til elected to spout their ideas. Lat­est is the By­ron Coun­cil who thought it would change Aus­tralia Day. Did they tell elec­tors be­fore they went to of­fice? I doubt it. Full marks to our PM for leav­ing no doubt that Jan­uary 26 is Aus­tralia Day. The PM is right that a na­tional day of cel­e­bra­tion is uni­fy­ing. How­ever, some com­men­ta­tors pro­mote frag­men­ta­tion and divi­sion. As far as I can dis­cover, Aus­tralia has 22 days a year that ex­clu­sively cel­e­brate Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture yet the Aus­tralian na­tion has only one day, Jan­uary 26. Marilyn Quirk Hey­bridge

Stop the hurt

THE Lib­eral Party is cor­rect in say­ing that chang­ing the date of Aus­tralia Day would not change the lives of Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple. But it would stop hurt­ing them. Robyn Maggs South Ho­bart

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