In this interview Jai Martinkovits, explains as a young Australian why Australia Day is important. He points out that above all, it is the birthday of the nation. It is therefore a day on which Australians should be united and not divided.
Professor Flint agrees and laments the fact that at times the official Australia Day Councils (not the community Australia Day Council in Victoria) seem too often to take action which is divisive.
In 2011 the official speaker in NSW was an Englishman, Sir Michael Parkinson. He demanded Australia do what the Australian people had rejected by a landslide in 1999 – become a republic. This certainly made the headlines and divided the country.
This year there has been a release about the excellent Australia Day speech by Dr.Charles Teo. The advance reports of the speech have been about one thing in his speech – racism in Australia. It was certainly not the major theme of his speech.
Dr Teo understandably asked that Australians wait to hear his full speech. So why was one aspect promoted and in retrospect exaggerated ? Australia Day is not the day for a divisive debate, but for unity.
Last year many people were asking whether we are approaching the time when it will be a desirable or even an essential requirement for consideration as an Australian of the Year that a candidate be committed to a politicians' republic and to flag change.
We sincerely hope that this is not so.
[Originally posted 21 January 2012]