Haters won’t be sat­is­fied

An­other year, an­other at­tempt by the phony vir­tu­ous to make Aus­tralia Day the scape­goat for indige­nous ills

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Warren's View - FRED PAWLE Fred Pawle is Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Direc­tor of the Men­zies Re­search Cen­tre.

The con­tro­versy and in­creas­ing busy­ness of Aus­tralia Day, with its photo op­por­tu­ni­ties for politi­cians and protests for virtue-sig­nalling apol­o­gists, has ob­scured ev­ery good cit­i­zen’s key duty on this, our only mass day of civil cel­e­bra­tion, which is to do as lit­tle as pos­si­ble.

The day it­self is per­fectly placed for such in­ac­tiv­ity.

The rel­a­tives have left after the an­nual Christ­mas re­union.

The Test se­ries, which needs to be fol­lowed at least ca­su­ally if one is to par­tic­i­pate in half the con­ver­sa­tions in the na­tion dur­ing De­cem­ber and early Jan­uary, is over, and has been re­placed by the Big Bash and one-day se­ries, which can, for the mo­ment, be safely ig­nored without com­pro­mis­ing one’s pa­tri­o­tism.

Like­wise, the forced ac­tiv­ity of back­yard cricket has been aban­doned, the bat and ball re­turned to the cup­board in the garage for an­other year.

The kids have not yet re­turned to school or univer­sity.

The shock of the early hot days of sum­mer has given way to a lan­guid, fa­mil­iar af­fec­tion for hot morn­ings and balmy nights, just as the skin of even the most sun-shy per­son has ac­quired an at­trac­tive tanned glow.

Most of those who have re­turned to work have done so without fully shak­ing off the tor­por of the sea­son.

Aus­tralia Day, for most of us, is the last chance to em­brace this na­tional pe­riod of glo­ri­ous down­time be­fore the new work­ing year be­gins.

The date, of course, com­mem­o­rates the rais­ing of the flag by Cap­tain Arthur Phillip in 1788, which was de­layed by a few days while he waited at Botany Bay for the slower ships in the fleet to ar­rive, then worked out that a more suitable place on which to found what would be­come the most pros­per­ous, most free pe­nal colony in his­tory would be the spec­tac­u­lar nat­u­ral har­bour a few miles north, later to be called Syd­ney Har­bour.

These few his­tor­i­cal ac­ci­dents con­spired to push the date that marks the end of our hol­i­day sea­son out to the end of Jan­uary, and for this we should all be eter­nally grate­ful.

Can you imag­ine the con­fu­sion it would cause if Phillip had raised the flag on, say, Jan­uary 4, forc­ing us to cel­e­brate our na­tional day be­fore the Syd­ney Test has even be­gun and some peo­ple are still scoop­ing emp­ties from the pool after the New Year’s Eve party?

It would be con­spic­u­ously in­ap­pro­pri­ate, not to men­tion too hec­tic.

Had Phillip raised the flag two weeks ear­lier, I sus­pect most of us would by now have aban­doned it and per­haps set­tled on An­zac Day as a bet­ter, al­beit more solemn, day for col­lec­tive con­tem­pla­tion.

Un­like the politi­cians and pro­test­ers who com­pete to mark the day as os­ten­ta­tiously as pos­si­ble, the civic duty of or­di­nary cit­i­zens is to cel­e­brate Aus­tralia Day with friends, oc­ca­sion­ally paus­ing while turn­ing the snags or tak­ing an­other stubby from the Esky to ap­pre­ci­ate our good for­tune.

Thanks to Phillip’s ex­quis­ite tim­ing, Aus­tralia Day also gives us the op­por­tu­nity to idly re­flect on the chal­lenges of the year ahead.

Writ­ers and philoso­phers have for cen­turies es­poused the pro­duc­tive in­sights achieved when the ephemeral stresses of life are stripped away.

Aus­tralia Day could not be more per­fectly timed for this.

It’s not just those tak­ing an an­nual break from the bur­dens of work who can use the day to qui­etly con­tem­plate.

Those whose pri­mary con­tri­bu­tion to so­ci­ety is in harp­ing on about “white priv­i­lege” and colo­nial­ism might also care to pause and re­flect.

Would chang­ing the date of Aus­tralia Day or re­nam­ing it “In­va­sion Day” really achieve your ob­jec­tives? Is there any di­rect causal re­la­tion­ship be­tween the com­mem­o­ra­tion and cel­e­bra­tion of Jan­uary 26 and the fact that the de­scen­dants of our con­ti­nent’s orig­i­nal in­hab­i­tants are not en­joy­ing the pros­per­ity they surely de­serve?

If you an­swered yes, then per­haps you should take an­other week off be­fore re­turn­ing to the bar­ri­cades of the cul­ture wars.

Bet­ter still, take the whole year off. Go on, you’ve earned it!

But if you are be­gin­ning to re­alise that the ar­gu­ment over indige­nous dis­ad­van­tage has be­come an uned­i­fy­ing con­test to out-woke the wok­est, then let 2019 be the year you fo­cus in­stead on real, pos­i­tive change.

Yes, the ar­rival of a flotilla of British re­jects in 1788 al­tered the lives of this con­ti­nent’s orig­i­nal in­hab­i­tants for­ever.

But those changes are what makes your life the envy of the world.

We owe it to our indige­nous peo­ple to recog­nise and hon­our their cul­ture, and ap­pre­ci­ate the qual­i­ties they have added to our na­tional char­ac­ter, but we also owe them the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in and en­joy life as thor­oughly as the rest of us do.

As fed­eral indige­nous en­voy Tony Ab­bott says, the best way to do this is through ed­u­ca­tion.

Pun­ish­ing Aus­tralians for the orig­i­nal sin of “coloni­sa­tion” by trash­ing Aus­tralia Day is not go­ing to make us a more vir­tu­ous na­tion.

In­stead, it will wind up de­stroy­ing the com­mon civic bonds that keep us in­clu­sive and pre­vent racists from thriv­ing.

Would chang­ing the date of Aus­tralia Day or re­nam­ing it “In­va­sion Day” really achieve your ob­jec­tives? … If you an­swered yes, then per­haps you should take an­other week off be­fore re­turn­ing to the bar­ri­cades of the cul­ture wars.

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