Not always proud to be Australian

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Not always proud to be Australian

As I am writing this it is Australia Day here. It is a post I always struggle with each year because I’m not sure it is right.

Many people think, me included, the date should be changed because for the indigenous population this date in 1788 meant the end of life as they knew it. Invasion Day they call it, and that is really what the British did, they invaded and took possession. Cultural Genocide.

I grew up believing that Australia was an inferior country and we shouldn’t be proud, but secretly I think many of us were. Then it became okay to be proud. Now I’m not so sure. I don’t think I can say I am proud to be Australian anymore.

I do love this country, but I really don’t like the politics. I don’t like how our government seems to have so little regard for anything that the people want, like climate change. When they know there is overwhelming support for things, like same-sex marriage they appear to want to let us have a say, but then do what they can to make it hard to get it through. Though we all know here that the pollies never thought that the people of Australia would vote so overwhelmingly for same-sex marriage. It was a moment to be proud of.

I think the thing that disgusts me the most is the refugees our politicians have had locked up for years and years. Victimising refugees is the worst. They do it for votes, the bogan voters. It is a racist policy and shows how racist we are as a nation.

I remember reading an article from someone talking about the beginning of last year and all the hopes they had for the year ahead. Then he said that he has none for this year and perhaps the only good thing about the year ahead is that it is an election year.

I could go on and on about how many things I hate that are happening here, but maybe I should just shut up and leave you with some photos.

The photos are from all sorts of places that I have been to in Australia. It is a beautiful country and has striking contrasts from one place to another. So I shall leave it there, however, I won’t say Happy Australian Day, but perhaps we can use this day to reflect on where we have come from and where we are going. I want to be a proud Australian again.

 

35 Responses

  1. Those refugees didn’t pass the character test, Leanne. Plenty got to settle down and stay in Australia. Those that are left could have gone back home or to the US, there was an arrangement made. They refused. Where do they get off choosing where to ‘flee’ to for safety? Someone’s had a word in their ear – hang on and sooner or later it’s the government who will give in. It’s not normal to hang on for years and years when you could be making a life for yourself elsewhere.

    When slagging Australians, you might want to remember that everyone in this country is either a migrant or related to one. It’s only the indigenous folk who can claim to be Australian. So who is it that you’re ashamed of?

    As the lyrics go – “We are one, but we are many
    And from all the lands on earth we come
    We’ll share a dream and sing with one voice
    “I am, you are, we are Australian”
    It’s people who are ashamed of Australians that are undermining that.

    Last but not least, the occurrence of violence in Indigenous communities and among Indigenous people is disproportionately high in comparison to the rates of the same types of violence in the Australian population as a whole. Indigenous children are growing up in communities where violence has become a normal and ordinary part of life. If most people tiptoe around those issues instead of facing them head on, it’s because no one wants to be accused of being racist. That’s something to be ashamed of.

    • I believe the character test you are referring to is the fact that they arrived in boats. I am not sure where you are getting your information, but many can’t go home because they have no home to go to. Then the ones that signed up to go to the US are still here, because apparently Trump said he didn’t want them. I don’t understand why we are paying so much money for such a small number of people, why don’t we just let them stay. If they really had failed the “character test” then they would have been deported already. It isn’t normal to hang on for years, unless you are a racist government who thinks there are people in this country with no compassion and think they deserve what they get.
      Read this https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jan/29/prime-minister-as-a-refugee-i-have-done-everything-australia-has-asked-nine-years-on-why-am-i-still-in-detention

      I am not slagging Australia, and I’ve done my research, I know the history of this country and where we all came from. I also pay attention to what our government is doing and that is really why I’m not proud, because of what they are doing and the image they are presenting of us in other countries.

      Apparently we are Australian, I am you are, unless you arrived in a boat, then you are no longer seen as a refugess, but a boat person, or a queue jumper. I think the demonisation that the government is doing with the refugess is certainly working on you I see.

      I know the stats for the violence around indigenous communities I”m aware they make up a small percentage of the population but make up a large percentage of those in prison. I know what the white people have done to the first nations people here from the start. I studied it. We don’t face them head on. I’ve found that while racism was not tolerated for quite some time it is rearing its head again and policies like locking up refugess are showing people that it is okay to be racist, I mean if the government is, then why can’t they.

  2. Beautiful photos of vibrant cityscapes and stunning landscapes. Yes, the same is going on here in Canada. The political disregard for what we as a people collectively voice as important to use, the un-inspired programs, token efforts that only mask the issues that plague us and many countries around the world. We certainly are living in interesting times.

    • Thank you so much. I have been hearing from a lot of people who are saying the same things about their countries. Seems none of us are alone. We certainly are.

  3. Leanne, if I hadn’t known you were Australian, I would have thought your post was about the US.

    I guess we have that in common – our politics is messed up and and out of sync with our reality. We have the same racist/bigotry issues here, and we too have treated our indigenous peoples deplorably. Maybe it’s our white, northern European heritage. Who knows? I share your feelings too.

    Thanks for the great and thoughtful post, and your wonderful photos. I forgot how talented you are. They are spectacular!

  4. John Tarlinton

    Thank you Leanne. I’ve always admired your photography – and I totally with the sentiments in your post!

  5. I think every country has its issues. Here in Canada we have the residential schools where thousands of indigenous children were taken from their homes to take the “Indian’ out of them. Many never saw their children again and hundreds of them died from abuse and/or illness. Recently hundreds of unmarked graves were found at some of these residential school. The government of the day is trying to make reparations but if the conservative party gets in I know that a lot of good things that have been done will be undone. I love this country but I know it’s not perfect and there are a lot of things we can do to make it better. We do have same sex marriage and for that I am so grateful because our daughter was able to marry the woman she loved. Hopefully some day you can be proud of Australia again.

    • We have a very similar history Mama, The same thing happened here to children of indigenous parents, we call them the “Stolen Generation”. They were taken away so they could be assimilated into white society, but it never really worked. It just made many many people sad and lost. We have same sex marriage too now, but I really fear they will take it away. We had the right to abortion and that is slowly being taken away as well. There are so many things that are slowly being eroded away. How long before all the rights of workers are lost? I hope I can too, but sadly I think it won’t happen in my lifetime. Thank Mama.

  6. Thanks for writing this. It is very relatable. I’m a proud American but…things are so complicated. 🙂 I’ve been spending the last few years learning a more inclusive American history. Real eye opener. So many mixed feelings.

  7. Gorgeous photos as always, Leanne…I feel your pain. As an American, I used to be proud of my country, but now I see the oppression of so many for so few, and I find it a struggle to stand when the national anthem is played.
    Here’s to better days for Australia and America.

    • Thank you Sheila and I totally agree, the same sort of things are happening here. They want to get rid of the things that people have been fighting for the last one hundred years. We are going backwards and it scares the hell out of me. Our governments seem to only care for those at the top and with me, and rest of us, well who cares what happens to us.

  8. I appreciate your honest thoughts, Leanne. I think it is best to think of the bad as well as the good in your country’s history. All countries, and certainly mine, have made serious mistakes.

  9. Great post with some honest reflections.
    As to finding it difficult to be proud of your country due to nasty politics and racism, you want to try being British at the moment. Xenophobia is all the fashion and as for our disgrace of a Prime Minister…… (And we’re the root cause of your issues too!)

    • Thank you.
      I think we are all feeling the same with our leaders at the moment. We have a disgrace for a PM too. He is so embarrassing and has no empathy at all. We need some revolutions.

    • Ours is a clown and a pathological liar 🤥. It’s impossible for him to tell the truth about anything. An absolute disgrace who thinks the rules don’t apply to him.
      Rant over!!!

    • OMG it sounds like you are describing ours. I know what yours is doing is slightly different, but I have to tell you some of the hashtags that are on twitter for ours. #scottyfrommarketing #scottyofannouncements #scottyfromphotoops #ScottyTheMisogynist #ScottyDoesNothing, there are just a few. I don’t get why people vote for these people.

    • Yes, I have seen reports from Oz.
      And you were treated to a visit recently by our Foreign Secretary (lucky Oz, not!). Private jet journey ony cost half a million quid.

    • Oh yes, I heard about the cost of the trip, what made her think she needed a private jet, seriously. I think that there is the problem with most pollies, they think public money is there for them to use as they please.

  10. I think that you should always question your own position – even as a nation. Not with the idea of going into sackcloth and ashes, but with the idea of developing further as a nation. Therefore my respect for your thoughts.

    Of course, your pictures are wonderful again.

  11. I understand your frustration, Leanne. My government is one that I am ashamed of for many reasons. One thing that you can be very proud of is your photography, always such beautiful work, Leanne.

  12. APH

    While the details are often different, i believe many of us, in many countries, have had similar feelings, especially over the last decade or so. At each corner we approach, humankind seems to have a knack for the hurtful and self-destructive. The pendulum is overdue for swinging back.

    Thank you for sharing.

    • I think the last couple of decades here have seen the decline of many things. I think we are seeing many people going into politics not to benefit the country but to see what they get that will benefit themselves. It is sad.

      You’re welcome and thanks

  13. Well said. And excellent photos.

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