I will start off by saying that I am happy to live in a country where 1) The stolen generation have received an official apology and 2) The illustrious award of 'Australian of the Year' has been given to an Aboriginal activist. Mick Dodson is a worthy recipient and both of these points show that Australia is becoming a more mature, inclusive country.
There are many other things that I love about my country. I love its wild and natural beauty and am thankful for the many environmentalists and others who have worked non violently for this to be reserved.
I am grateful children from poorer families are eligible for payments, subsidies and deferred fees so that they can continue their education.
I am grateful for national health insurance (Medicare) which has, essentially, saved my life from asthma attacks and allowed me to regain sanity after years of suffering from severe mental illness.
I am grateful for freedom of speech and religion. I can openly say I am a Christian, and express my views on this blog without the threat of government persecution.
I am grateful for democracy and the ideal that we 'little people' can have a say in how our country is run and keep it accountable to its stated ideals and promises.
I love Australia and I know no other country. But...Australia has a black history too.
In Tasmania it seems something akin to genocide was carried out. In the Northern Territory (my other home) Aboriginal people are disproportionately dying earlier from treatable diseases, incarcerated, losing their children, having problems with drugs and alcohol and being involved in domestic violence.
The 26th of January, to my suffering fellow citizens, is a celebration of a day when their country was invaded which led to many of the aforementioned problems.
I am not arguing to turn back the clock but, like Mick Dodson, I feel I must argue for a different day. If we truly want Aboriginal people to live as citizens in their own country we must also want to celebrate 'nationhood' with them.
To me this would involve a simple thing - changing the date of Australia Day - perhaps to the date when Aboriginal people were granted citizenship, and the vote.
Now that is something worth celebrating.
God Bless all my readers even those who will probably disagree with me (as I said previously it is, I think, a mark of a healthy democracy when we can disagree without fear).